Remembering Maire Drumm (1919-1976)
October 28 marks the 35th anniversary of the assassination of Maire Drumm, at the time the vice-president of Sinn Fein. She was a patient in Mater Hospital, Belfast, and in her hospital bed, at the time of her murder. Below is the statement released by Ruairi O Bradaigh after her slaying:
Máire Drumm’s dedicated life of service to her people is at an end. That she lived and died for Ireland her comrades in the Republican Movement proudly acknowledge. She lived and toiled ceaselessly face to face with the stern realities of life in Belfast and hers was the authentic voice of the beleaguered people suffering and resisting British and pro-British terror in their streets and homes. She gave leadership fearlessly for close on seven years as a member of the Sinn Fein Ard-Chomhairle and later as Vice-president. She realised full well that the political activists – and her role in the Republican Movement was purely political – were in the front line, but that did not deter her from the rigorous code of duty she imposed on herself.
Concern for Political Prisoners
Apart from her public commentary and her activity in street demonstrations, her especial concern was for the political prisoners, their families and their welfare, the securing of compassionate parole and every humanitarian consideration affecting the casualties of the struggle. She also maintained contact with British Government representatives right through the 1975 bi-lateral Truce.
In addition, Maire Drumm had to cope with the internment without trial of her husband, Jimmy, for thirteen years, the rearing of a family of five, the arrest and ill-treatment of her son Sean, the internment without trial of her son Seamus in Long Kesh and the imprisonment of her daughter, Maire Óg, in Armagh Jail.
Now the worst has happened. Death came to her in the most brutal and callous of cir-cumstances, while a patient in a hospital ward – surely a place of refuge and healing. But she died as much to liberate those who murdered her as those who would have defended her had they been present.
Firm and uncompromising in her public attitudes, she was in private the most warm, compassionate and hospitable of people, she had a genuine love of human kind and especially of her own oppressed people who, in their turn, took her to their hearts long ago.
Now that Maire Drumm is dead, the uncharitable expressions of some public figures who lead closely guarded lives surrounded by maximum protection of the British Occupation Forces, ill becomes them and reminds the Irish people of similar sentiments expressed by them following the Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry.
Indeed, some of the comments by politicians and pressmen on both sides of the Irish Sea in the past have not helped and have assisted in making a political figure like Maire Drumm the target for assassination squads.
The refusal of a visa to her to enter the United Slates is likewise difficult to interpret; one wonders what the American State Department, acting under British pressure, had to fear in exposing Americans to a realistic exposition of the facts of life under English rule in Ireland.
One aspect of Maire Drumm’s life is clear to all who worked with her; she ceaselessly advocated the rights of the Loyalist communities in the New Ireland, and consistently guarded and developed lines of contact with them. Those with whom she was in touch among the Loyalists knew well of her persistent work for a just peace in Ireland; it devolves on them to come forward and acknowledge this now that she is no longer there to survey such vital work.
For her comrades, Maire Drumm is not dead, she lives, she inspires us – on every street barricade, at every prison gate, at every mass demonstration and confrontation, she is there, urging us on to even greater effort. Her tireless spirit beckons us forward in our struggle for the New Ireland, for the liberation of all mankind, for freedom, justice and peace. We salute you, Maire Drumm, fearless anti-imperialist fighter: for us you live forever.
Posted on October 14, 2011, in Commemorations, Provos - then and now, Republicanism post-1900, Women in republican history. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Remembering Maire Drumm (1919-1976).