Death of Marie Moore

A veteran republican who was the first female Sinn Féin deputy mayor of Belfast died last Saturday at the age of 72.

Marie Moore had worked with republican prisoners and their families during the hunger strikes and went on to represent the Lower Falls area on Belfast council from May 1993.

Party president Gerry Adams said Mrs Moore had been a life-long friend to both him and his wife and that he had spent time with her the night before flying to the US for the St Patrick’s events.

Although ill, she was “in great form and looking for sceal... I will miss her slagging and her craic as well as her activism,” he said.

Describing his colleague as “an outstanding Irish woman and a very sound republican”, he said Mrs Moore’s political beliefs had their roots in her childhood.

“She traces her republicanism back to 1942 when Tom Williams was captured after a shoot-out with the RUC at her granny’s house,” he said.

“Marie, a young girl at the time, was in the house during the shoot-out. Tom Williams was hanged for the killing of a police officer that day.”

Mrs Moore was imprisoned for her part in women’s protests and she was particularly close to Maire Drumm, vice president of Sinn Féin who was assassinated in hospital in 1976.

In 1978 she was imprisoned again, on false charges, along with the Belfast executive of Sinn Féin. The charges were later dropped.

The Falls Road in west Belfast was brought to a standstill for her funeral.

A lone piper played as six female pallbearers dressed in black, including Sinn Féin assembly member Sue Ramsey, carried the coffin into St Paul’s Church in Cavendish Street.

Mr Adams said he had met Mrs Moore in the 1960s when she was active in the civil rights movement in Belfast.

He described her as “a pivotal part of the network, which was established with the political prisoners” in both Armagh and the Long Kesh prisons “particularly during the hunger strikes in 1980 and 1981”.

He said prisoners and their families remembered her “with great fondness for her thoughtfulness, generosity and hard work”.

Mrs Moore also served on the Ard Chomairle and Mr Adams said she would be “deeply missed” by the republican community “and by many who would not share her politics but who found in her an outstanding activist for citizen’s rights and particularly the rights of women”.

“I extend solidarity to her daughter Eileen, her sons Brian and Ciaran and her grandchildren and great grand children and to her extended family.”

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© 2009 Irish Republican News