Ógra Shinn Féin
Bhuel a chairde, let me start my stating that I, as a young activist, am influenced by many females throughout the struggle, not just one. However when I was asked to write this article, the name Mairead Farrell was the only name to bombard my mind.
Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there I do not sleep…
Who is Mairead Farrell some non-political friends might ask? And to me, only one answer must be given.
Mairead Farrell is an inspiration to republicans throughout Ireland. In my opinion Mairead, deceased Irish Volunteer for the IRA, puts a face to the term “women in struggle”.
Mairead was born in Belfast to a middle class family, with no link to militant Irish Republicanism, other than her grandfather, who was interned during the Tan War.
It was after meeting Bobby Storey, that Mairead joined the ranks of the Provisional I.R.A. Mairead was probably like many other republicans at that time, in that she witnessed the brutality of British Forces in Ireland and decided she wanted to do something about the conditions she was living in.
In doing so she was imprisoned and experienced conditions far worse than imaginable. She still however played her part on the inside along with comrades Mary Doyle and Mairead Nugent, undergoing many protests.
To me she was an inspiration to not only woman but men also in our struggle for independence. She proved this by returning to active service in 1986 when she was released from Armagh Jail and continued her fight.
Volunteer Mairead Farrell- “I have always believed that we had a legitimate right to take up arms and defend our country and ourselves against the British occupation.”
Why, some might ask do I gain inspiration from her? Well, to me as a young person, I believe that a lot can be learnt from the actions and involvement of Mairead Farrell in our struggle. Throughout her life she showed drive, determination and fight, fight for her country and what she believed in.
She proved that the struggle not only affected men but that women had had enough of interrogation, abuse and discrimination on all grounds. She, like many others, worked for the removal of British forces and did not just wish for it. Today we as young people must continue to do the same.
It is no longer an armed struggle; however young people today must draw inspiration from her, especially young woman and continue in the struggle that remains. I leave you will the inspirational words of Mairead Farrell.
“I am oppressed as a woman, and I'm also oppressed as an Irish person. Everyone in this country is oppressed and yet we can only end our oppression as women if we end the oppression of our nation as a whole. But, I don't think that that alone is enough. This isn't the first time that women have been seen as secondary, but women today have been through so much that they won't just let things be. I hope I'm still alive when the British are driven out. Then the struggle begins anew."