Mná na hEireann – Cumann na mBan

Women have always been at the forefront of the struggle for Irish Independence and no organisation epitomises that more than Cumann na mBan. Next week is the 108th anniversary of the founding of that organisation.

Cumann na mBan was founded at Wynn’s Hotel in Dublin on April 2nd 1913 it later subsumed another republican women’s organisation Inghinidhe na hÉireann in 1914 which had been established in 1900.

Cumann na MBan is generally associated with the Easter Rising and many of the significant female figures of that period who subsequently went on to roles in the political and social life of the new Irish State.

However it was not just a ‘Rising and Civil War’ phenomena and continued its role thereafter. What is generally not known is that the body is still a proscribed organization in the United Kingdom under the Terrorism Act 2000 but are not currently listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in America.

‘Irish Central’ has this feature on the movement over the years:

https://www.irishcentral.com/opinion/others/cumann-na-mban

Meanwhile IFI player has this feature on the Irish republican Joesphin Hayden a member of Cumann na mBan later General Secretary of Republican Sinn Fein. As usual the IFI feature (30 mins length) streams in excellent quality:

https://ifiplayer.ie/mna-an-ira-2/

Note: Celtic League campaigned against the conditions inflicted on Hayden when she was a prisoner in Limerick Jail in the late 1990s sending protests to the Irish government, the Irish Prison system and the Council of Europe (CPT). Some of the correspondence is in the League archive here (CTRL+F search needed):

https://www.celticleague.net/…/Celtic_League_News…

Image: Cumann na mBan Downpatrick 1974 (From Irish Central article) – Inset: Josephine Hayden – screenshot from IFI player.

Bernard Moffatt

Assistant General Secretary Celtic League (28th March 2021)

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