April 2017        

Eoghan M. Ó Néill

At the end of March the CPI lost a very valuable comrade, Eoghan Ó Néill. Eoghan was a genuine revolutionary, a very humble, kind, generous and cultured person, one who was always willing to pass on his knowledge and experience, in particular to young people.
     We express our deepest sympathy to Eoghan’s wife, Paula, to his children, Áine, Calliam, Tuireann, and Cian, to his mother, sisters, and brothers.
     Eoghan was an art tutor and an accomplished artist and sculptor as well as a working-class political writer, thinker, and educator. He had recently completed the CPI pamphlet Trading Away Democracy: How TTIP and Other Trade Agreements Will Destroy People’s Rights. He made a major contribution to developing our political theory in new directions in a non-dogmatic way. He encouraged young as well as older comrades to question everything and to creatively apply Marxism.
     He contributed to two very important political questions that the CPI is now engaged in discussing: firstly, the question of a radical “transformative strategy” that could open up areas of struggle that could help to build the class-consciousness that is necessary for advancing towards socialism; secondly, applying the ideas of a radical transformative strategy to the housing crisis under conditions of contemporary monopoly capitalism. He had just finished a fine piece of research on the housing crisis, entitled “The Right to a Secure Home.”
     Eoghan played an active role in the Peadar O’Donnell Socialist Republican Forum and was responsible for much of the educational content of its weekend schools. Eoghan saw the central importance of education. At the funeral service were many comrades from the Peadar O’Donnell Socialist Republican Forum, some of whom travelled from around the country, north and south, from Cos. Fermanagh, Tyrone, Donegal, Armagh, Monaghan, Cavan, Kildare and Carlow as well as from Belfast.
     Eoghan had developed an educator’s training programme in the Paulo Freire teaching method for activists within the Forum to use within their local communities, attempting to build grass-roots political education.
     Many of his comrades from the CPI also travelled to say goodbye and to mark his life and his contribution. The large attendance at his funeral was testimony to the respect in which he was was held by many people.
     Eoghan first joined the CPI nearly two decades ago, helping to establish our paper, Socialist Voice. Even after he left the party, for family reasons, he kept in touch over the years. In the last couple of years he came back into active involvement in the work of the party.
     Eoghan was a highly valued member of the CPI who worked tirelessly for the party and for the Irish working class. He was only fifty-nine but had given a lot—and had much more to give—to the cause of the Irish working class. His monthly contribution to Socialist Voice was a must-read article of quality and depth, always presenting arguments backed by facts and concrete experience of the class.
     He was also preparing an exhibition, both political and cultural, to mark the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution.
     Eoghan will be deeply missed by his many friends and comrades. He left his mark on those who worked alongside him, a true working-class leader and educator. We dip our banners in his memory.

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