A pall was cast over the town of Westport and around the county this week with the news that the managing editor of The Mayo News Neill O'Neill passed away suddenly at the age of 36. Mr O'Neill took ill at his home at Rosbeg, The Quay, Westport early on Tuesday morning.
Speaking about his untimely and sudden death, Minister Michael Ring TD paid tribute saying, “I was shocked at the news of the sudden death of Neill O’Neill, the managing editor of The Mayo News and President of the Westport Chamber of Commerce. Neill was a friend of mine. He was born and reared in Westport and was a real community man. He was involved in the Westport Chamber of Commerce, Westport United and anything that was good for the town. I want to offer my sympathy to his mother and father, his brothers and sisters, partner and all his extended family. Neill is a tremendous loss to his family, to the Mayo News and to the whole community of Westport”
The editor of The Mayo News, Michael Duffy speaking about his late colleague said, “There is just a complete sense of disbelief that our colleague and dear friend Neill has passed away,” he said. “Neill has been the heart and soul of The Mayo News since he took over as Managing Editor in 2011, having previously worked as a journalist with the paper from 2007 to 2009. We are all struggling to come to terms with the news that someone so energetic, enthusiastic and full of life has been taken from us at such a young age.”
Colm Gannon from the Mayo Advertiser paying tribute to Neill said, “All at the Mayo Advertiser wish to pass on their deepest sympathies to Neill's family, partner, friends and colleagues in The Mayo News. I knew Neill as a colleague on the press benches around the county for many years, he was a fantastic journalist, who had a deep love of his hometown of Westport and was involved in many different facets of the town; always looking to try and see the town grow and develop. He was always great company, full of life and fun and always with a keen eye for a good story.”
Neill is survived by his partner, Emma Joyce, his parents, Colam and Mary; brothers, Conor and Finbarr; sisters, Aoife and Orla. Funeral arrangements are as follows: Reposing at his residence on Thursday, October 12 from 1pm to 6pm, house strictly private at all other times. Funeral arriving to St. Mary’s Church, Westport on Friday morning at 10.30am for funeral Mass at 11am. Burial afterwards in Aughavale Cemetery.