Remembering Máire Drumm
Born Máire McAteer in Newry County Down on October 22nd 1919, Máire came from a staunchly Republican family, her mother was active during the Tan war.
Máire grew up in the village of Killeen, County Armagh, and from an early age showed a keen interest in Irish culture including playing camogie for Killeen.
Máire lived in Dublin & Liverpool before moving to Belfast in the early 1940s, while visiting republican prisoners there she met James Drumm whom she married on his release in 1946, but during the IRA border campaign, James was interned without trial from 1957 - 61.
When the civil rights movement began in the late 60s, Máire was actively involved in the efforts to rehouse the thousands of nationalists forced from their homes by Unionist intimidation.
As the British army turned on the Nationalist community in the six counties Máire became a leading figure in Cumann na mBan. During the Falls Curfew of July 1970, Máire led about 200 women, many pushing prams with food and supplies for the people in the area, in defiance of the curfew.
Maire's home became a target for many a British Army raid and she was twice jailed for making 'seditious speeches' as she became very vocal against British rule in Ireland and was elected vice-chairperson of Sinn Fein in 1972.
In poor health, Drumm sought medical treatment in the United States but was denied a visa due to her Republican connections. In October 1976 she checked into Belfast’s Mater Hospital for eye surgery.
On October 28th as Drumm lay recovering from her operation, Loyalist paramilitaries entered her ward dressed as doctors and shot her in the chest, Máire Drumm died ten minutes later. There has always been a strong suspicion of crown forces involvement in her murder.
Máire's funeral in Belfast on November 1st was attended by thousands, she is buried in the family plot in Milltown cemetery.
"We must take no steps backward, our steps must be onward, for if we don't, the martyrs that died for you, for me, for this country will haunt us forever."