A TYRONE charity worker described as ‘the heartbeat of Trocaire for almost 40 years’ has been laid to rest in Honduras following a tragic road crash in Guatemala.
The funeral for Sally O’Neill Sanchez took place yesterday afternoon (Sunday) in the Basilicac de Suyapa, Tegucigalpa, ahead of burial at the Cementerio San Miguel Arcángel.
Among the many who paid tribute to the Trócaire stalwart was the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, who praised the ‘brilliance, compassion, and limitless courage’ she brought to her work.
“I was privileged to have her as a friend and will never forget the brilliant guidance and assistance she provided on so many occasions and in so many places,” he said.
“Through her work she empowered countless people and she was relentless in calling on those with power to bring their influence to bear on the policies and politics that affected those most vulnerable.”
Trócaire CEO, Caoimhe de Barra described Sally as a ‘truly remarkable person’, who ‘embodied the values of Trócaire’.
“Trócaire was only five years old when Sally joined,” she said. “Sally built the foundations of the organisation, and through her courage and commitment to human rights touched the lives of so many people.
“Despite having officially retired, Sally remained a driving force for human rights in Central America, and was much loved by communities and human rights activists throughout the continent. She dedicated her life to helping others.”
Sally was the loving daughter of the late Charlie and Mary, beloved wife of Roger, much-loved mother of Xiomara, Rhona and Roger and grandmother of Pat.
She is also survived by her brothers Pat, Tommy and John, sisters Kate, Anne, Gemma and Margaret.
Mrs O’Neill Sanchez’s former colleagues in Trócaire will hold a memorial Mass next month in Maynooth to celebrate Sally’s life.