R.I.P. Margaret Walsh

1The Executive of Cumann na mBan are deeply saddened to hear of the death on February , 2019 of our comrade and friend, Margaret Walsh, of Pilltown, Co Kilkenny.

Margaret was born in Springfield, Pilltown, Co Kilkenny. She spent most of her working life in Dublin and worked mostly in hotel management. She joined the Republican Movement and Cumann na mBan in early 1970 and was a member of the Dublin Craobh.

Her work for the Republican Movement took her all over the country. When the war in the Occupied Six Counties erupted in 1969 and people were forced to flee their homes in Belfast and Derry as they were burned out, Margaret was part of the very dedicated group of people who organised billets and assistance for them in the 26 Counties. She also helped to find billets for men and women who came ‘on the run’ as the campaign got underway. Her home was always an open house for many a needed bed and hospitality.

As members of the IRA were arrested in the early 1970s for taking part in funeral guards of honour for dead Volunteers and commemorations, Cumann na mBan took over those duties to a large extent, for example the ceremony for Frank Stagg (whose body had been hijacked by the Free State and buried under concrete) in Leigue Cemetery, Ballina, Co Mayo. Margaret was always available to march in uniform at such events and marched at Bodenstown in recent years until her health made it impossible.

Her final outing in uniform was at the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in 2016. Although in a wheelchair, Margaret took part in the march from the Garden of Remembrance to the GPO in her Cumann na mBan uniform, assisted by her daughter Saoirse.

She was without doubt the best intelligence officer the Republican Movement had. No matter what she was asked to do, she never refused.

Over the years she sold the Republican newspapers, attended commemorations, protests, visited Republican prisoners incarcerated for their beliefs and actions. She always supported CABHAIR, the Republican Prisoners’ Dependants Fund.

She remained true to her Republican beliefs and when in 1986 the Movement split on the issue of abstentionism, Margaret Walsh knew exactly where she stood and supported Republican Sinn Féin. Like many other Republican women, she was always very reluctant to talk about her work for the Republican cause but suffice it to say, she was very often called upon and was never found wanting.

For many years and up to her death she was a member of the Executive of Cumann na mBan and she will be deeply missed. In her later years she suffered serious ill-health but was always cheerful, optimistic and full of craic.

Margaret enjoyed horse-racing and hurling and followed her native Kilkenny with enthusiasm.

She was honoured by CABHAIR (Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund) in the centenary year of Cumann na mBan, 2014.

Cumann na mBan and the Republican Movement as a whole extends deepest sympathy to her daughter Saoirse and her extended family.

Go raibh suaimhneas síoraí dá hanam uasail.