REPUBLICANS in Dublin and throughout Ireland were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Des O’Neill of Raheny, Dublin on September 14 at the age of 93.
Des was born in 1926, a native of Kilmessan, Co Meath. He became aware of the struggle for a 32-County Ireland and Republicanism through his father Mark and in the 1940s from Navan (and Leitrim) Republican John L McCormack with whom he campaigned for Republican prisoners.
He moved to Dublin and joined the Russell Cumann of Sinn Féin, Mountjoy Square in the early 1950s, His comrades included Ruairí and Seán Ó Brádaigh and Éamonn Mac Thomáis.
He moved to Raheny in the early 1960s and became involved in the Jackie Griffith Cumann. Staying steadfast with the Movement after the split in 1969, for years he sold The United Irishman and An Phoblacht all over Dublin.
At the height of the war in the Six Occupied Counties he organised for children to stay in the Raheny area for a break.All his life he was very active in raising funds for Republican prisoners and their dependants through An Cumann Cabhrach and later CABHAIR (Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund). Des never missed the annual Wolfe Tone commemoration in Bodenstown. Other comrades at this time included Dáithi Ó Conaill, James Toner (Donegal) and Paddy Fox and Johnny Galvin (Swords).
Des was a steward at the funeral of neighbour and IRA Volunteer Patrick Cannon in 1976 where he witnessed gardaíattack mourners. He rarely missed the annual commemoration at the grave of Vol Cannon in Balgriffin.
Des married his late wife Teresa in 1960 and they had threesons and three daughters. He worked in the ESB for over 40years and in 1972 at Ballymun ESB he led a walkout to the British Embassy the morning after Bloody Sunday. He always felt he had a black mark against him from management after this.
He was a founder member of St Monica’s GAA Club in 1964 and was an active member until his death. A dedicated member of the local community, he had the title of Mayor of Edenmore.
A very proud Republican, he stayed true to Sinn Féin Poblachtach in 1986. In 2019 he was the Leinster Honoree at the CABHAIR Annual Testimonial Dinner. The presentation was made by Paddy and the late Peig King with whom he worked on behalf of the Republican Movement in the Raheny area for many years. He laid the wreath at the monument to Wolfe Tone at the annual pilgrimage to the grave of the father of Irish Republicanism in 2019.
The Republican Movements extends deepest sympathy to the O’Neill family on the death of this devoted family man, loyal friend and comrade and hard-working member of the community.
Go raibh suaimhneas síoraí dá anam uasail.
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