Today is the 37th anniversary of the death of Máire Drumm. She came from a Republican family in South Armagh, with her mother having been active during the Tan War and the subsequent conflict with the Free State. In 1940 she moved to Dublin in search of work, and joined Sinn Féin. She settled in Belfast in 1942 and done great work on behalf of Republican prisoners. While on a visit to Crumlin Road Jail she met Jimmy Drumm whom she married upon his release 1946. Their Belfast home became a centre of Irish culture, with Irish language classes, dancing and music. Máire was a Camogie enthusiast and has a lifelong involvement with the sport.
She was involved in the efforts to re-house displaced nationalists during the Loyalist onslaught in the late 60’s, with her door always being open to refugees. She was to the forefront in the breaking of the Falls Curfew in July 1970, which marked a turning point in relations between nationalists and the British Army. She through the ranks of the movement and was elected to the Ard Chomhairle of Sinn Féin, becoming vice-president of the party as well as a commander in Cumann na mBan. As high profile Republican figures her and husband Jimmy endured constant harassment and intimidation from Crown forces, indeed Jimmy was known to be the most jailed Republican in the six counties. Máire was herself jailed twice for making seditious speeches and the family home was constantly raided. Despite the best efforts of the enemy, Máire’s spirit could not be broken and she never shirked her patriotic duties. Against the backdrop of all this her health began to decline and she was admitted to Belfast’s Mater hospital in October 1976. On October 28th Loyalists entered the hospital disguised as doctors and shot her in her bed. She was 56 years old.
“The only people worthy of freedom are those who are prepared to go out and fight for it every day, and die if necessary.”