Redmond O’Neill, who was a key figure in Ken Livingstone’s mayoral administration, has died.
Ken Livingstone said:
“Redmond O’Neill, who died yesterday while undergoing surgery for a recurrence of cancer, served for eight years as my director on transport and public affairs in London and as Deputy Chief of Staff. He was one of the people who oversaw the development of the Greater London Authority from a small group of officials to a fully-fledged city administration during a period when London rose ahead of even New York as the number one city in the world.
“His work contributed greatly to that success.
“He was the day-to-day link between the Mayor’s Office and Transport for London during the period when London’s bus system was completely rebuilt and upgraded, when public transport use soared, when the congestion charge was introduced, and when the funding for Crossrail was secured.
“He was the link with London’s communities and established in London one of the largest programmes of celebrations of different communities of any major city in the world – including St Patrick’s Day, St George’s Day, Eid, Simcha on the Square, Diwali, Chinese New Year and many others. These helped make London one of the most admired socially diverse cities in the world.
“His work helped played a major role in reducing racist attacks in the city and ensuring community harmony in London after the 7 July 2005 terrorist attack.
“He was a person of great physical and moral courage. Even when originally diagnosed with extremely grave cancer he worked up to the last day before his first operation and returned to work immediately on his recovery. He was an outstanding servant of London and all its communities.
“Whilst he was tenacious in seeking to pursue a course in the interests of the city his personal charm and joie de vivre meant he was held in deep affection by the many who knew and worked with him.”
BMI Mourns the Death of Redmond O’Neill
It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that the British Muslim Initiative (BMI) mourns the passing away of Redmond O’Neill, advisor to the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.
To all those who knew him or came to work with him, O’Neill was truly an outstanding and courageous man, who dedicated his life to improving the lives of ordinary people. His drive, motivation, enthusiasm and sense of humour were all unique, and seldom failed to rub off and positively affect those in his presence. Even during the times when he was gravely ill, he was always upbeat and ever thinking of initiatives and projects that would serve the public.
Mohammed Sawalha, President of BMI stated: “Over the years in which we were blessed to know him, O’Neill constantly proved a great friend, an incredible supporter and an excellent public servant. It was a pleasure to have had him as a friend and brother and a privilege to have worked with him. His passing away is a loss not only to those who were close to him, but to the entire Muslim community whom he served with care, diligence and dedication”.
The British Muslim Initiative expresses it sincere condolences to his family, friends and loved ones; particularly our friend and sister Kate Hudson, the Chair of CND on this sad advent.
I am writing with the very sad news that Redmond O’Neill, our Vice Chair, died yesterday afternoon during surgery. Redmond had been battling against cancer in recent years.
It is hard to put into words the enormity of the contribution made by Redmond in the struggle to support socialism in Venezuela and the huge extent of his loss. Redmond more than anyone understood that Venezuela was a huge progressive beacon across the world, and that our solidarity here was so important.
No one was more passionate and unflinchingly committed to Venezuela’s struggle to create a better way forward. In every task and endeavour, however large or small, Redmond did his absolute utmost to make a difference.
Redmond played an absolutely pivotal role in strengthening the ties between progressive people in this country and Venezuela.
Most significantly, Redmond was key to organising the visit of President Chavez to London in 2006 and was absolutely integral to bringing about the pioneering agreement between London and Venezuela. The impact of the work he did cannot be underestimated. No one made a greater contribution than Redmond in the huge strides forward in developing European co-ordination in solidarity with Venezuela. He made a vital contribution to our work in the development of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.
Redmond’s unique and irreplaceable belief and passionate support for socialism in Venezuela will serve as a huge source of inspiration in our future work. All of us who knew and loved him, as both a colleague and a friend, can remember his courage, dedication and unflinching commitment and draw upon that as we redouble all our efforts in solidarity with Venezuela and those who share our belief in humanity throughout the world.
On behalf of VSC, we extend our deepest, sincere condolences and wishes to his partner Kate and all his family and friends.
He will be sorely missed.
Secretary, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
Adams expresses sadness at death of Redmond O Neill
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams today expressed his ‘deep sense of shock and sadness at the death of Redmond O Neill’.
Mr. Adams extended his ‘sincere condolences to the family and friends of Redmond who died on Wednesday afternoon during surgery, following a long and valiant battle against cancer’.
Mr. Adams said:
` Le bás Redmond tá laoch ar son saoirse na hÉireann caillte againne agus is fíor bhrón e sin.
It was with a deep sense of shock and sadness that I learned of the death of Redmond .
I want to express my sincere condolences and sympathy to Redmond’s partner Kate, his sisters Fidelma, Ann and Tara and all the very close friends and comrades who loved and respected him.
I met Redmond many times during my visits to London . He was a very dedicated and energetic supporter of Irish reunification, of the peace process and of justice and equality campaigns.
During Sinn Féin’s recent discussions around initiating a focussed campaign on Irish reunification Redmond played a very helpful role. Right up until the day before his death, he was advising and contributing to the discussion and bringing to it wealth of energy, talent.
His suggestions were insightful and have helped shape the approach Sinn Féin will be taking, and the structure and content of the conference that is planned for London next February.
As an Irishman, born in Britain , Redmond ’s vigour and enthusiasm for promoting many progressive campaigns and initiatives was respected and infectious.
Most recently, in his role as policy director to Ken Livingstone when he was Mayor, Redmond championed the promotion of London ’s St Patrick’s Parade and Festival which made it one of the largest celebrations of Irish heritage anywhere in the world.
His key role in this and many other endeavours, in supporting justice and freedom in Ireland and in other parts of the world, were widely known and underline why his loss will be so greatly felt.
Redmond was a kind, generous, and courageous comrade. These qualities are reflected in how well liked and loved he was by those who he met in both his political and personal life.
He will be remembered by all those who had the privilege to work alongside him.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time and we also remember, in happiness, his positive and exceptional contribution.’
Is measc laochra na nGael go raibh a anam dílís. ’