TRIBUTES have been paid to Dungannon native Sally O’Neill Sanchez, a leading figure in the overseas development organisation Trócaire, who has died in a car crash in Guatemala.
The fatal collision tragically took the lives of Sally and her three co-workers on Sunday in the Central American country.
Trócaire, the Catholic bishops’ overseas development agency, expressed its “profound shock and devastation” over the death.
The agency’s Chief Executive Caoimhe de Barra said: “We are heartbroken by this news. Sally was the heartbeat of Trócaire for almost 40 years. She was a truly remarkable person. Trócaire was only five years old when Sally joined.
“Sally built the foundations of the organisation. She embodied our values and through her courage and commitment to human rights touched the lives of so many people.
President Michael D Higgins marked her pending retirement with a lunch at Áras an Uachtaráin in honour of her contribution to overseas development and human rights.
In 1982 Mr Higgins, then a TD, and Ms O’Neill visited El Salvador to investigate reports of a massacre in the village of El Mozote. They were initially refused entry into the country but were eventually granted access.
They uncovered evidence of a massacre of civilians and their report from El Mozote made it onto the pages of the international media, including the New York Times and Washington Post.
There were no funeral details released at the time of Press.
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