|Pearse Doherty TD and Sinn Fein London representative Sean Oliver|
By Theo Russell
LONDONERS remembered the work of Redmond O’Neill for the Irish community and all the peoples of Greater London at a memorial lecture given by a leading nationalist member of the Irish parliament last week. Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty delivered the first Redmond O'Neill memorial lecture at the Bolivar Hall in London on behalf of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, who had to cancel due to a minor accident. The meeting was also addressed by the Venezuelan ambassador Samuel Moncada, CND Chair Kate Hudson, and chaired by Ken Livingstone.
In his lecture Adams said: “O'Neill,” who died in October 2009, “played an important role in the development of Sinn Féin’s uniting Ireland strategy and specifically its outreach into the Irish community in Britain, and to others here who support that demand.”
O'Neill played a major role in the campaigns against Cruise missiles, opposing the 1990 Gulf War, the Israeli assault on Gaza, and to defend Muslim communities in London and elsewhere.
In 2000 he became Ken Livingstone’s deputy chief of staff, and according to Adams worked “in support of working people in London and oppressed peoples around the world, in Latin America and Palestine”.
He used this role to extend solidarity to the Venezuelan revolution, develop links with President Hugo Chavez, and provide technical assistance from the Greater London Authority to the Municipal Council of the Venezuelan capital Caracas.
O'Neill was also Livingstone’s main advisor on Irish issues and turned the St Patrick’s Day parade and festival into one of London’s major annual events. Adams said: “His work on behalf of the victims of British state violence in Ireland was invaluable.”