Thousands flock to republican Joe O'Neill's funeral
on 07/10/2013 00:00:00
More than 100 gardaí including armed detectives mounted a discreet security operation for the funeral that passed off peacefully.
Checkpoints were set up on the neighbouring border roads with county Fermanagh as the funeral took place.
When the coffin was brought to the grave it was flanked by 10 masked men and two women who were dressed in full paramilitary uniforms.
In his homily Father Raymond Munster paid tribute to the former Bundoran, balladeer, publican and GAA star's generosity to the poor.
"He was always very helpful to those who were in need," he said.
In a graveside oration, Republican Sinn Féin spokesperson Mary Ward said Joe O'Neill was a towering figure of Irish republicanism and embodied the very essence of the republican tradition.
"He set high standards of commitment, duty, honour and loyalty to the cause of Irish freedom.
"For Joe the principles of freedom were very clear.
"He dismissed the cult of the personality and always warned of the danger of merely following the man or the woman over the cause of Irish national independence.
"His involvement with the republican movement in the 1950s and remained faithful until death."
O'Neill was a close ally of the late Republican Sinn Féin leader Ruairi O'Bradaigh who died in June and was one of the speakers at his grave.
O'Neill was instrumental in setting up the breakaway group and was a former vice president and treasurer of that organisation.
In 1970 he was part of the group that walked out of the Sinn Féin Árd Fheis in the Mansion House in Dublin, a move which led to the establishment of Provisional Sinn Féin.
Sixteen years later he joined O'Bradaigh in another Sinn Féin walkout out over the decision to take seats in Dáil Éireann.
Mr O'Neill was a former Bundoran Urban district councillor and lost his seat in 1999.