Trócaire stalwart Sally O’Neill to retire in April

O’Neill has served for almost 40 years in some of the most troubled regions of world

Tributes have been paid to Sally O'Neill, Trócaire's head of region for Latin America, who is to retire next month.

Ms O'Neill has been at the heart of Trócaire's overseas work for 37 years. President Michael D Higgins marked her pending retirement with a lunch at Áras an Uachtaráin to honour her contribution to overseas development and human rights.

In 1982 he, then a TD, and Ms O'Neill visited El Salvador to investigate reports of massacre in the village of El Mozote, where they uncovered evidence of a massacre of civilians.

During her time as deputy director and head of Trócaire's international department, Ms O'Neill took overall charge of its work in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.


From Dungannon, in Co Tyrone, she joined Trócaire in 1978. She acted as translator for Archbishop Óscar Romero six weeks before he was murdered in 1980.

She oversaw aid to more than two million refugees in the Central American region in the following years and worked in Ethiopia during the mid-1980s famine.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times