Daughter of IRA woman murdered with her sister in 1971 to launch legal action against attorney general

Margaret Kennedy holds photographs of her mother Maura Meehan and aunt Dorothy Maguire who were shot dead in West Belfast in 1971. Picture by Mal McCann

THE daughter of an IRA woman killed along with her sister almost 50 years ago is set to launch legal action against the attorney general after a new inquest was refused.

Mother-of-four Maura Meehan (31) died along with her sister Dorothy Maguire when British soldiers opened fire on a car in which they were passengers in West Belfast in October 1971. Both women were members of Cumann na mBan, the female wing of the IRA. The army claimed a gun had been pointed from the back of the car although this was disputed by the women’s families and eye witnesses. 

Legal action has already been launched against the British army in relation to the death and relatives asked former attorney general John Larkin to order a new inquest. That request was refused earlier this year. Ms Meehan’s daughter Margaret Kennedy, who was nine when her mother was murdered, has now launched legal action against the attorney general, a role now held by Brenda King. 

Maura Meehan, one of two women who died in a shooting incident involving a British Army patrol in the Lower Falls area of Belfast, N Ireland. She was aged 31 years and married with 3 children. The woman who died with her was her sister, Dorothy Maguire, 19 years, single. Both were Roman Catholic and from West Belfast. It later emerged that they were members of Cumann na mBan, the Women’s IRA, and were the first members of that organisation to die in the Troubles. The soldiers claimed that a gun was pointed at them from the car. It later transpired the women were sounding the car horn to warn of the presence of soldiers. 197110230424MM1
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Forensic reports from the time claimed Ms Meehan had lead on both hands “consistent with discharge residues due to firing a weapon”. However, reports carried out by Ms Kennedy’s legal team, KRW Law, cast doubt on the original findings, saying it did not “provide any salient evidence to conclude that Mrs Meehan had fired a gun”. The review added that the original report failed to consider other sources “as an explanation for the presence of lead on swabs taken from her hands”.

Dorothy Maguire, 19 years, single, one of two women who died in shooting incident involving a British Army patrol in the Lower Falls area of Belfast, N Ireland. The other woman was her married sister, Maura Meehan, of Brantry Street, Belfast. They were both members of Cumann na mBan, the Women’s IRA, and were the first members of that organisation to die in the Troubles. The soldiers claimed that a gun was pointed at them from the car. It later transpired the women were sounding the car horn to warn local people of the presence of soldiers. 197110230424DM1
Copyright Image from Victor Patterson, 54 Dorchester Park, Belfast, UK, BT9 6RJ
Tel: +44 28 9066 1296
Mob: +44 7802 353836
Voicemail +44 20 8816 7153
Skype: victorpattersonbelfast
Email: victorpatterson@me.com
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Solicitor Kevin Winters said: “Expectations and hopes were raised on the part of the family when new forensic evidence came to light but unfortunately the new attorney general didn’t feel it was sufficient to warrant a new inquest.” Mr Winters said it was a “particularly heinous case” and that the legal action has been launched to “try and gain some measure of accountability to what happened”. “Its a case where that is long overdue and yet again another family are left with no option but to take legal action to try and get some semblance of justice,” he said.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Connla Young for the original story –c.young@irishnews.com

James Connolly’s secretary and her UVF husband

The unlikely love story of Winnie Carney, founder member of Cumann na mBan in Belfast, and Somme veteran George McBride

UVF veteran George McBride (36th Ulster Division) and Winifred Carney founding member of the Cumann na mBan, Belfast

The writing box given to Rita Murphy, a nurse in the UVF hospital, and passed on to her daughter-in-law Allison Murphy, author Winnie and George: An Unlikely Union
The writing box given to Rita Murphy, a nurse in the UVF hospital, and passed on to her daughter-in-law Allison Murphy, author Winnie and George: An Unlikely Union
Allison Murphy

James Connolly one of the leaders of the 1916 rebellion

When I opened the writing box that warm June evening, I found two pieces of paper inside. One was a brown envelope on which was written in shaky cursive script: George McBride, 3 Whitewell Parade, Whitewell Road, Belfast. My mother-in-law explained that it was her favourite old gentleman’s address. He had lived there for more than 50 years and spent the happiest 15 years of his life in that house with his wife. He had wanted my mother-in-law to have a record of where the box came from.

Nora Connelly and Winfred Carney, from the Belfast, Cumann na mBan

The second piece of paper was a cutting from an unidentifiable newspaper that had the headline, “UVF pioneer and Somme veteran dies”. The opening paragraph stated: “Somme veteran, George McBride, a member of the old UVF, who married James Connolly’s secretary, has died in the UVF Hospital, Belfast, aged 92”.

While I was struck by the incongruity of a UVF soldier marrying Connolly’s secretary, my mother-in-law was horrified that her friend’s age was incorrectly reported. “He was only 90!” was her response as I read aloud. I should point out that my mother-in-law had no knowledge of history and, in fact, studiously avoided discussing anything related to the past. I was sure she had never heard of James Connolly and the fact that the article stated that George’s wife had been Connolly’s secretary would have been of no relevance to her.

The obituary continued by describing Mr McBride’s war record and his wife’s role in the Easter Rising of 1916. It included the following paragraph: “Speaking from Dublin, Mr McBride’s niece, Mrs Mabel Farrell, said the marriage was a strange alliance for the time and although they argued politics incessantly, they loved each other very much.” My mother-in-law asked me if, when I had the time, I would try to write about George’s life. She wanted him to be remembered by more than an address on an old brown envelope. She knew only that he loved his wife very much, although he told her that many thought it was an unusual marriage. She was emphatic that the story should be told for the general public – people like her – to read.

In 1912 in Belfast lived 24-year-old Winifred Carney and 14-year-old George McBride; she of a Catholic, republican background, he of the Protestant, unionist tradition. Belfast was a regional industrial city much like those in the north of England, but it differed in that it was, at times, polarised by politics and religion. While Belfast prospered, sectarian tensions simmered below the surface and, at times, erupted into bloody conflict. Workers had flocked into the city during the prosperous times, changing the demographics and leading to Catholics becoming one-third of the population.

At the same time, the political scene was changing, as unionism, once led by landed southern Irish unionists, came to be dominated by the industrial leaders and workers of the Ulster region. When it became clear that Home Rule may become a reality, such unionists directed their energies into keeping Ireland in the union with Great Britain and ensuring that power over the industrialised north remained with Westminster.

In the same period, nationalism in Ireland was also becoming more uncompromising, and movements to strengthen cultural nationalism were growing. In March 1912, on the eve of the introduction of the third Home Rule Bill to parliament, the Protestant-dominated Belfast Corporation was emphasising the link between prosperity and the union with Great Britain. Despite economic vitality and industrial prowess, these ominous political developments led to an increasing anxiety pervading the streets of the city.

From this time forward Winnie and George found themselves intimately involved in all the dramatic major events of the decade: the formation of Cumann na mBan and the Young Citizen Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army and the Ulster Volunteer Force, the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme, the War of Independence and the partition of Ireland, the formation of Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State.

Despite these divisive events, Winnie and George met, fell in love and married. This is their story. In 2016 their medals were placed together in Belfast City Hall as a message of reconciliation. They belonged to Shankill Road man George McBride, a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force and a soldier in the 15th Battalion of the 36th Ulster Division which fought at the Somme; and Winifred Carney, a founding member of Belfast’s Cumann na mBan, secretary to James Connolly and his adjutant in the GPO during every minute of the Easter Rising.

With many thanks to: The Irish Times for the original story 

Winnie and George: An Unlikely Union (Mercier Press) tells the story of their lives and their love.

Follow these links to find out more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4QG9tZP2pwcWCccgKbmSqSV/george-mcbride

(2)-: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winifred_Carney

(3)-: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/1916/rising-memories/the-orangeman-and-the-cumann-na-mban-typist-34399271.html

(4)-: https://www.irishcatholic.com/their-love-bridged-the-norths-divides/

Mother of prominent republican laid to rest

The funeral of Veronica Taylor, from a well-known Derry republican family, took place in the city yesterday

The funeral cortege of Veronica Taylor making its way to St Mary’s Church for Requiem Mass

Mrs Taylor passed away peacefully at Altnagelvin Hospital on Monday last (16 December).

The funeral corthege left the family home at Broadway, Creggan for Mass at St Mary’s Church Fanad Drive and Mrs Taylor was interred afterwards in Derry City Cemetery.

The deceased is survived by her husband Willie, sons William and Tony and daughters Cathy, Isobel and Joanne and her grandchildren.

Prior to her removal for burial from St Mary’s, Mrs Taylor’s coffin was draped in the national flag and her remains were flanked by members of the republican movement.

With many thanks to: Derry Now for the original story 

New Documentary Film On Cumann Na mBan….. | The Broken Elbow


With many thanks to: The Broken Elbow and Marisa McGlinchey for the cover picture (2019) Unfinished Business; the politics of ‘dissident’ Irish Republicanism. Published with Manchester University Press.

Follow this link to find out more: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2714636045282819&id=100002093504519&fs=1&focus_composer=0

A tribute to Óghlaigh Rose Dugdale a true Irish Patriot

Óghlaigh Rose Dugdale

Not all class traitors are bad. Rose Dugdale was an English girl born into a muli-millionaire family in Devon. She disowned her family and distributed over £150k of their wealth to working class people in North London. She then moved to Ireland and joined the IRA in 1974.

In 1974 she was part of an IRA unit that hijacked a helicopter, the helicopter was flown over the Strabane RUC barracks and bombs were dropped on the Crown Forces below. Rose is the epitome revolutionary socialism/feminism. OnThisDayBritishArmy@onthisdayba

Above: A video of Rose Dugdale discussing the military operation

With many thanks to: OnThisDayBritishArmy@onthisdayba for the original posting 

Remembering Óglach Constance de Markievicz who passed away on 15th July 1927, Co.Dublin

Constance Markievicz

Today (15 July) marks the anniversary of the death of the Irish revolutionary, politician, and suffragist, Constance Markievicz. She died on this day in Dublin in 1927. This is a letter from her to Fr. Albert Bibby OFM Cap., an Irish Capuchin friar, written whilst she was imprisoned in Holloway Jail in London in 1919. It reads:
‘Dear Father Albert. The little picture of Our Lady has presided over my cell, and been a great joy to me in this unholy and uncivilised land. The papers are great reading. Jail seems to have become so fashionable, people will soon begin to think its quite a slur on them if they have not been there! When we free our country I shall start a movement for the reformation of jails and jailors! I am proud of being selected as a candidate. I wonder whether I should have a better chance of election in or out of jail? I feel so confident that things are going all right for Ireland that I don’t fret a bit …’
(Ref.: CA/IR/1/1/2/1/16). #OTD

With many thanks to the: Capuchin Archives, Ireland for the original story

Óglach Bernadette Loughran RIP

Óglach Bernadette Loughran

Scene from the funeral of a brave woman, Bernadette Loughran, .who fought British Imperialism by word, deed and defiance in the 1940’s and beyond. Last survivor of the Armagh Gaol hunger strikers of the 1940s who fought for the dignity of Republican prisoners. R.I.P.

With many thanks to: South Down Republicans for the original posting

Follow this link to find out more on SDR: https://www.facebook.com/South-Down-Republicans-275538886353193/

Shame Féin is misreprestenting Countess Markievicz

Mary Lou McDonald’s centenary rhetoric fails to take account of historical reakity

‘Mary Lou McDonald failed to mention that Markievicz was among those TDs who left Sinn Féin in 1926 because of its refusal to change its hardline stance on the issue of taking the oath of allegiance.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Mary Lou McDonald failed to mention that Markievicz was among those TDs who left Sinn Féin in 1926 because of its refusal to change its hardline stance on the issue of taking the oath of allegiance.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
The history which surrounds the origins of our State is complex. We attained our independence through a combination of democratic parliamentary effort and violent revolutionary action. Neither of these traditions can be denied.

The various centenary commemorations around the 1916 Rising and again more recently around the first Dáil has been impressive, inclusive and respectful. The articulation of that approach has been delicately led by President Michael D Higgins.

There have, however, been some interesting, almost entertaining, attempts to deny or overlook the complexity of our political heritage or to shape it into politically self-serving narratives.

There has, for example, been intensification in recent years of a pattern of Sinn Féin organising its own annual commemorative events for various local happenings or heroes of the independence struggle even where there has long been a tradition of community-organised cross-party events.

In Soloheadbeg last Sunday the community and local historians had organised an inclusive centenary event for the mid-afternoon. Sinn Féin, however, felt the need to hold its own event the previous day at which Mary Lou McDonald was the speaker.

At these party commemorations Sinn Féin speakers regularly accuse other political traditions of “airbrushing” away the revolutionary dimension to leaders of the independence struggle.

Sinn Féin itself, however, has been adept at seeking to edited the narrative of our history. The tale of two revolutionary icons which Sinn Féin is particularly fond of these days illustrates the point.

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Last December Sinn Féin organised a special event in the Coach House at Lissadell to commemorate Constance Markievicz and other female revolutionaries. Chairman of the organising committee, councillor Chris McManus, promised the local newspaper in advance that “historians, former political prisoners and national politicians” would attend.

‘Carrying the mantle’
At the event McDonald spoke of her great admiration for Markievicz as a revolutionary feminist and an abstentionist. She described Sinn Féin as “carrying the mantle” of Markievicz.

The extent to which Sinn Féin are anxious to include Markievicz in their hall of heroes was further evidenced at a special event in the party’s rooms at Stormont last month at which Michelle O Neill and “former republican POW Síle Darragh” unveiled a portrait by Tony Bell which the party had commissioned. In all the speeches, however, neither Sinn Féin leader felt able to mention that Markievicz in fact broke with the Sinn Féin tradition from which they claim their heritage.

Markievicz was among those TDs who left Sinn Féin in March 1926 because of its refusal to change its hardline stance on the issue of taking the oath of allegiance.

While this was fine rhetoric, the historical reality of course is more complex
Markievicz actually chaired Fianna Fáil’s founding event in the La Scala Theatre on O’Connell Street on May 16th, 1926. She was also among a group of prominent feminist nationalist elected to the first Fianna Fáil ardchomhairle. Indeed it is likely that Markievicz would have featured in all subsequent De Valera cabinets were it not for her early death from a sudden illness in July 1927.

In a promo video for the Lissadell event, McDonald spoke of how Markievicz was “a republican, a Sinn Féiner and an abstentionist”. There was no mention of the fact that Markievicz was ultimately a Fianna Fáiler.

McDonald spoke of how “one hundred years on Markievicz stands against the hypocrisy of Irish political leaders calling on others to swear an oath to a queen”.

Historical reality
While this was fine rhetoric the historical reality of course is more complex. Markievicz died before her Fianna Fáil parliamentary colleagues took the oath of allegiance and entered Dáil Éireann in August 1927. There is no reason to believe she would not also have done so. She had after all been elected in 1927 on the Fianna Fáil mandate of viewing absentionism as a tactical rather than a principled policy.

Last weekend at Soloheadbeg, McDonald paid particular tribute to another Sinn Féin icon, Dan Breen. The video of her speech on the Tipperary Sinn Féin website makes for interesting viewing , if only for her colourful concluding flourish. McDonald spoke of the need to honour “our Fenian dead” and to “finish the journey, where Tipperary leads Ireland will follow. Tiocháidh ár lá.”

Again, however, there was no space to mention the fact that Breen also broke from the Sinn Féin revolutionary tradition. He is most famously remembered as commandant of the Tipperary flying column during the War of Independence but Breen was later a Dáil deputy who split from Sinn Féin to join De Valera’s Fianna Fáil in April 1926. In fact, so impatient was Breen to abandon abstentionism that he resigned from the new party in January 1927 to take the oath of allegiance and his seat in Dáil Éireann many months before De Valera did so.

Breen’s move was described by this newspaper at the time as “the first breach in the ranks of the abstentionists”.

As I say, our history is very complex.

With many thanks to: The Irish Times for the original story

On the 23,October, 1971, at 11 years old, I was informed by my father, that I was to become the man of the house, as he fought back tears, I never seen him cry before, and was quite shocked by this.

Just before dawn, my mother, Maura Meehan, 30, and her sister dorothy maguire,19,had tried to warn neighbours of the incursursion and military raid by British army regiments,namely,the royal greenjackets and the queens own green Howard’s,armed only with a foghorn, they cruised the streets of Belfast trying to protect the catholic community against what turned out to be the dawn of internment ,where no due process was afforded,nor legal representation allowed,innocents were sent to concentration camps under the prevention of terrorism act,put in place by British government to achieve their means without legal repercussions.

The car in which they were passengers, swerved to avoid hitting a military vehicle , veered off cape st,coming to a full stop against a gable end brick wall at Omar st,
The nightmare had only begun,the army opened fire on the car with extreme prejudice and executed my mother and aunt on the spot,to add insult to injury,they refused to let an ambulance try to save their lives and also a priest, there to administer the last rites and sacrament, claiming there were armed terrorists in the car and it was booby trapped.

The lies that followed are part of the cover up that continues to this day,amnesty international and the European court of human rights have both ruled against England’s refusal to publicize there findings as evidence proves wrongdoing on their part, the historical enquiries team ( now dismantled) said,”it’s not in the publics need to know”,not only is this unadulterated murder, it’s a war crime.

As articled under the Geneva convention to protect against genocide by armed forces slaughtering their own civilians,once again Britain tips the scales of justice to justify slaughter and thumb their nose at the world, further reading can be found on my page at friends of maura and Dorothy, their only “crime”was saying,”the British are coming”and paid with their lives,think for a minute what kind of world we would live in if the Brits had murdered Paul revere?
©By Gerard Meehan

With many thanks to: Pictures of Ireland with Jim Meehan and Eddie Meehan for the original posting.

First woman MP Markievicz to be honoured in Parliament

Constance Markievicz died in 1927 aged 59, nine years after refusing to take her seat in Westminster.

One hundred years after winning a seat in the House of Commons, the first woman MP is finally to grace the corridors of Westminster.

It was a seat that Constance Markievicz never took – in line with Sinn Féin’s abstentionist policy.

Remarkably, she fought the 1918 election for the constituency of Dublin St Patrick’s from a cell in Holloway prison – and out of 18 women candidates, she was the only one to win a seat.

Her portrait, donated by the Irish parliament, is to be received later on Wednesday by Speaker John Bercow on behalf of the House of Commons.

Ready to die for Ireland
Born in 1868, Constance Gore-Booth was an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, but developed an allegiance to an Irish Republic.

WB Yeats immortalised Constance Gore-Both left, with her sister Eva, as “two girls in silk kimonos, both beautiful, one a gazelle”

She spent her childhood at Lissadell House in County Sligo, but was eager to travel and studied art in London and Paris.

It was at the Académie Julian in Paris that she met Casimir Markievicz; the pair married in London in 1900.

Commonly known as Count and Countess Markievicz, her family and some historians have raised questions about the provenance of the title.

Campaigned against Churchill
Constance Markievicz – or Madame de Markievicz, as she was known – was the first woman elected to the House of Commons, and she was the first woman elected to the First Dáil.



Constance Gore-Booth, pictured here as a debutante in 1884, soon became involved in the suffragist movement

Lauren Arrington, a senior lecturer at the Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University, said Markievicz was exposed to alternative political opinions while she was in the French capital.

“She was at the centre of an avant-garde culture in Paris and she encountered ideals that were sensible to her – that women should be equal to men,” said Ms Arrington.

Constance joined her sister, Eva, in Manchester in 1908: As key players in the Barmaids’ Political Defence League, they successfully campaigned against the re-election of Winston Churchill in the Manchester North West by-election.

Hearing executions from her cell
But while Markievicz was an anti-imperialist, the 1913 Dublin lockout was a pivotal moment for her.

“It’s the lockout and the formation of the Irish Citizen Army which brings her to republicanism,” said Ms Arrington.

Constance Markievicz was hailed as a hero when she returned to Dublin from prison in 1917

Constance Markievicz took part in the Easter Rising of 1916 and fought against British crown forces under socialist rebel Michael Mallin at St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.


The rising was unsuccessful and the ringleaders, including Markievicz, were sentenced to death.

At her court martial, Markievicz declared she was “ready to die for Ireland one way or another”.

However, Markievicz’s death sentence was commuted to life in prison because she was a woman.

This greatly frustrated her, according to Ms Arrington.

“It annoyed her as she felt that she shouldn’t get off purely because she was a woman, and she also felt some responsibility for the jailed rebels she knew from Na Fianna Éireann – a nationalist youth organisation Markievicz co-founded with Bulmer Hobson,” explained Ms Arrington.

“In the first few days after the Rising she was in prison in Kilmainham Gaol, and she could hear the other executions happening from her cell.

“That was torturous for her.”

Proud Irish patriot
Although Constance Markievicz was released from prison in 1917 under a general amnesty, she was detained again by 1918.

The British government feared a repeat of the 1916 Easter Rising and arrested most of the Sinn Féin leadership charging them with entering into treasonable communication with the German enemy.

“The charges were trumped-up”, explains Ms Arrington adding that “the government underestimated the extent to which the imprisonment would be a rallying-cry and actually increase Sinn Fein’s political power”.

Later that year, Prime Minister David Lloyd George called a general election immediately after Armistice Day.

Campaigning from a cell in London’s Holloway prison, Markievicz combined her suffragist ideals with her anti-imperialism.

“Her platform was for a republic in which men and woman would be equal, and Ireland would be free to pursue its own destiny,” said Lauren Arrington.

Rather than take her seat in the House of Commons, Madame de Markievicz – along with 72 other Sinn Féin MPs – refused to acknowledge the authority of the British government, and instead helped establish the First Dáil at Dublin’s Mansion House in January 1919.

Markievicz died in 1927 aged 59, in a public ward in Dublin’s Sir Patrick Dun’s hospital.

Her funeral was attended by the great and the good of Irish society, including Prime Minister Éamon de Valera.

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Éamon de Valera leads mourners at the grave of Countess Constance Markievicz who died 1927

Aristocrat, abstentionist, anti-imperialist, suffragette, feminist, and Irish revolutionary, Constance Markievicz enters the House of Commons honoured for her role in Anglo-Irish history.

Her portrait will form part of the UK Parliament’s Voice and Vote exhibition until 6 October, when it will be transferred to nearby Portcullis House to go on public display.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story.




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