Bernadette Devlin McAliskey: A Gutsy Lady

Berndadette Devlin McAliskey, born in 1947 in County Tyrone, is a memorable political figure in the making of Ireland’s history.  As a founding member of the People’s Democracy, she was elected an MP when she was 21 years old.  She is still the youngest ever female to have been elected such.  This gutsy lady, an Irish republican, is thought of rather fondly (by some) for a particular ‘incident’ in which, during her only attendance at the House of Commons, left her seat briskly to land her fine fist right into the jaw of the then-Secretary of State Reginald Maudling.  He had stated that the British Security Forces had “shot in defence” during the battle of Bloody Sunday – a fact that is highly disputed.  Yes, she broke his jaw.  She was also banned from the House of Commons for six months.

Berndette has served time in prison after her involvement in the Battle of the Bogside led to her arrest, for “incitement to riot."  She is still very active in politics and remains one of the most awesome ladies this country has ever seen.

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Tags: Irish Freedom Struggle, Politics, The Troubles, Tyrone, Women

Comment by Patrick Crawford on March 5, 2015 at 10:59am

I had the pleasure of marching with her in the first civil rights march from Coalisland, Co. Tyrone to Dungannon back in 1967. That was the start of the troubles which lasted over 40 years. Glad t over now.

Comment by Richard R. Mc Gibbon Jr. on March 6, 2015 at 7:47pm

Smart and tough is a hard combination to beat. One of her quotes has always stayed with me; "To gain what is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else." And as for the MP that she hit,... well big mouths and glass jaws seems to be the norm for politicians. Slainte!

Comment by Patrick Crawford on March 6, 2015 at 8:19pm

I couldn't have said it better Richard. She survived the troubles there and made an impact which lead to the peace we have there now. I have 7 brothers and 5 sisters who feel the same about her who still live there in Coalisland.

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