UNISON Northern Ireland


It is with deep sadness we report the loss of our friend and colleague Noeleen O'Kane (Beattie) who died on 12 December in Foyle Hospice.

Noeleen was an inspirational local leader in UNISON. She worked as a Classroom Assistant (SEN) in Ardnashee School in Derry. She was dedicated to her job and to our members as a long serving activist in Derry Education Branch, as a champion for education members throughout Northern Ireland and as a highly committed local organiser for the region.

Noeleen joined the union in 1993 as an enthusiastic 20-year-old. Her commitment to trade unionism was evident from the start. The members recognised it too. Over the years they elected her to many branch positions, and she served the union on the Local Government Service Group and the Regional Committee, She was a strong negotiator and a tireless advocate for our members rights. She was a delegate and powerful speaker on behalf of the members at many UNISON and ICTU conferences, even when illness had taken hold.

When she told us about her illness Noeleen also wrote about her love for our union. She is a shining example of the best of us and has left us before her time. We thank her for her passion and commitment and we extend our condolences to her family.

To Noeleen O'Kane (Beattie), trade unionist, feminist, socialist and thoroughly decent human being - We salute you.

Patricia McKeown
Regional Secretary