In The News

Funeral takes place of veteran campaigner Inez McCormack

Funeral takes place of veteran campaigner Inez McCormack

THE Funeral has taken place of veteran human rights campaigner and trade unionist Inez McCormack. 

Ms. McCormack, who was 69, passed away on Monday.  

Several hundred mourners attended the Funeral which took place in The City Cemetery in Derry on Wednesday (January 23). To view the full details of the Funeral Arrangements,  click here.

Ms. McCormack had spent her life battling for the rights of the disadvantaged both in Ireland and abroad. Her tireless work earned her the respect and friendship of many key decision-makers across the world and resulted in her being named, in 2011, as one of Newsweek’s 150 Women Who Shake the World.

Born into a working class family, Mrs. Cormack left school at 16 but would later study social work at Trinity College, Dublin and Queen’s University, Belfast.

She became a prominent figure in the civil rights movement during the late 1960s before going on to make a major contribution to the trade union movement through her work with NUPE and then UNISON. Equal pay for women was one of the issues she spent years battling for.

Her standing in the trade union movement was recognised when she became the first woman to be President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in 2000.

Ms. McCormack is also credited with playing an important behind-the-scenes role in the negotiations which resulted in the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement in Northern Ireland.

Her work was also recognised in the play Seven, which is based on seven women who have triumphed over enormous obstacles in their home countries. The actress Meryl Streep played Ms, McCormack in the Broadway production of the play.

In recent years Ms. McCormack had founded the Participation and the Practice of Rights Organisation (PPR) which provides support to local disadvantaged communities.

Many tributes have been paid to the veteran campaigner. Her friend Hilary Clinton — the former First Lady and U.S. Secretary of State — said: “For decades, Inez promoted peace and reconciliation in her beloved Northern Ireland and around the world. She challenged women and men to find a way to put aside their differences, move past hurt and anger, and work together to end violence and build a fair and lasting peace. It was a tremendous challenge, but Inez met it with joy.”

Former Irish President and UN Human Rights Commissioner, Mary Robinson also paid tribute. She said: “Inez was a remarkable woman with a remarkable capacity for friendship. It was from Inez I learned that you can achieve much more if you don’t need the credit. Her support to me as a close advisor when I served as president was invaluable, but she never appeared in photographs or in the front row.”

Ms. McCormack passed away only months after being diagnosed with cancer.

To view an interview in which Inez McCormack talked about her life to UTV Live, click here.

To see an excerpt from an address given by Inez McCormack at the Woman, Peace and Conflict Conference in Dublin in 2008, click here.

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