15 April 2006

Mourners say final farewell to SF stalwart O’Hanlon

Irish Examiner

By Paul O’Hare

MORE THAN 1,000 mourners yesterday attended the funeral of Sinn Féin aide Siobhan O’Hanlon.

Party president Gerry Adams and chief negotiator Martin McGuinness carried her coffin, which was draped in a tricolour, following a service in Hannahstown, west Belfast.

Ms O’Hanlon, who died on Tuesday after a lengthy battle against cancer, was a notetaker in the talks which led to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

In his graveside oration, Mr Adams described her as a woman who got things done.

Mr Adams told mourners the former IRA volunteer embraced politics as a Sinn Féin activist and was present for historic events at Stormont and in Downing Street.

Ms O’Hanlon, 45, also co-founded the West Belfast Festival and carried out voluntary work for adults with Down syndrome.

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald also spoke at the graveside while Frances Black sang 'The Foggy Dew'.

Ms O’Hanlon is survived by husband Pat Sheehan and six-year-old son Cormac.

Mr Adams said Ms O’Hanlon would be missed not only by her family but by the Republican movement as a whole.

“Siobhan packed three or four different lives into one,” said Mr Adams.

“She made a huge difference in the lives of many, many people.

“There was her life as a child and a young nationalist from a strong Republican family - growing up in north Belfast.

“There was her life in the IRA. There was her life as a political prisoner. Her life as a Sinn Féin activist.

“Her life as a mother and a wife. And for the last four years or so her life in all these dimensions as she fought the cancer.

“For the last 17 years or so I am very proud to say that I was part of Siobhan’s life and she was part of mine.”

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