28 September 2006 Edition

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Diarmuid O' Neill remembered in Timoleague

Gerry Kelly with Diarmuid O' Neill's family, from left father Eoghan, girlfriend Carmella, mother Terrie and brother Shane, at the commemoration last Sunday marking the 10th anniversary of the IRA volunteers assassination in London

Gerry Kelly with Diarmuid O' Neill's family, from left father Eoghan, girlfriend Carmella, mother Terrie and brother Shane, at the commemoration last Sunday marking the 10th anniversary of the IRA volunteers assassination in London

Led by a Republican colour party and a lone piper, around 300 people from all over Ireland and beyond, participated in a short parade to the grave of Vol. Diarmuid O' Neill at Timoleague Cemetery, West Cork last Sunday to mark the 10th anniversary of his assassination by British Police. North Belfast MLA and Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Policing and Justice, Gerry Kelly delivered the oration.

On 23September 1996, London Police fired lethal quantities of tear gas into an apartment where Diarmuid O' Neill was sleeping. He responded to all police orders to leave the building, which he did but was shot six times at the open door with his arms raised and dressed only in his underwear. Fatally wounded, 27 years old O' Neill was denied medical attention for over 25 minutes and died of his wounds.

Diarmuid's father, Eoghan, mother Terrie, brother Shane and girlfriend Carmella from the Basque country, and other family members were especially welcomed by Clonakilty Sinn Féin Councillor Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin, who chaired the ceremony, pledged the support of republicans to the family in their ongoing grief and fight for justice.

Gerry Kelly, himself a former member of the IRA, sentenced in England to two life sentences and enduring a hunger strike during which he was force-fed 170 times, delivered the oration. He supported the calls for an independent public inquiry to be set up to into the killing of Diarmuid O'Neill. This call is supported by Amnesty International and several other human rights organisations. Kelly also called for the rejuvenation of the campaign on the 10th anniversary of O'Ñeill's death.

Concluding, Kelly called on people to celebrate Diarmuid O' Neill the Irish freedom fighter, and to dedicate themselves to the cause which he himself took a conscious decision to be part of - that of freedom, peace and justice for all Irish people, and oppressed people everywhere.


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