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Sally O'Neill honoured in memorial service

13 May 2019

President Michael D. Higgins and former President Mary Robinson among over 400 attendees at memorial service for Sally O'Neill

President Michael D. Higgins was among the hundreds of colleagues, friends and family including former President Mary Robinson who gathered in Maynooth to celebrate the life of Sally O'Neill. Photo : Garry Walsh.

Former Trócaire staff member Sally O’Neill was described as a “remarkable worker for justice” by President Michael D Higgins at a memorial mass in Maynooth on Friday 10th May. 

“She was the greatest gift that Ireland gave to the Latin world in contemporary times,” President Higgins said.

The Dungannon woman, who was a stalwart of Trocaire for 37 years, was tragically killed in a car crash in Guatemala last month. 

President Higgins was among the hundreds of colleagues, friends and family including former President Mary Robinson who gathered to celebrate the life of Sally O'Neill. 

"Sally was a champion of the poor in Latin America for decades," said Caoimhe de Barra, Trocaire's CEO. "Her legacy is a powerful one of which we are all very proud and today we have announced the launch of the 'Sally O'Neill Leadership Development Programme' which will help shape future leaders around womens empowerment and human rights."  

“Sally did not just speak of how we should treat our fellow citizens with dignity and respect, she showed so many how to do it” said President Higgins. 

President Michael D. Higgins signs a book of condolences for the late Sally O’Neill.  Photo : Garry Walsh

President Michael D. Higgins and former President Mary Robinson together with Trócaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra, and Sally’s sister Kate Lewis and her daughter Xio O’Neill. Photo: Garry Walsh.

President Michael D. Higgins and Trócaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra in Maynooth University. As well as being a solemn event, the day was also an occasion to celebrate the life of Sally O'Neill, and share stories of her remarkable life. Photo : Garry Walsh.

Trócaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra shows President Michael D. Higgins and members of Sally O'Neill's family a memorial plaque for Sally in the Romero garden in Maynooth university. Photo : Garry Walsh 

Trócaire staff choir sings 'Something Inside so Strong' at Sally's memorial event. Photo : Garry Walsh

Caoimhe de Barra, Trocaire's CEO said that "Sally was much beloved by communities and human rights activists throughout Central America. She dedicated her life to improving the lives of others. Her legacy will live on through the thousands of people whose lives she helped to improve".

Learn more about Sally's remarkable life by watching this short video:

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