22 January 2004 Edition

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May Chaney

Dublin republican May Chaney died earlier this month. She had been ill for the last five years, but finally lost her battle against cancer on 2 January. May fought her illness right until the end and even opened her eyes on 1 January to wish her family a happy new year.

May was a lifelong activist who inherited her beliefs from her staunchly republican parents. As a child in a family of 16, she grew up in Dublin's poorest working-class areas and it was from there that she developed a strong affinity for the community and for young people. For many years she worked in the Darndale-Belcamp youth centre on the northside of the city, organising discos, projects and summer schools. She believed that if you showed interest in a child and kept them occupied, it would prevent them from taking the wrong road later on.

For much of her early life, May worked in cinemas and theatres, and at one point worked backstage in the greenroom of Dublin's Gaiety Theatre. It was in this theatre that she developed her love of the arts, enjoying everything from classical music to plays and paintings.

May had a difficult life, losing two husbands to premature deaths and raising her family mostly on her own in Dublin's inner city. But she was a woman who loved living, and loved a good party, so her family ensured that her funeral was something she would have been proud of.

Her coffin was draped in a Tricolour and carried by her sons and grandsons to Glasnevin Cemetery, where she was buried with both her husbands and her son. A lone piper led the procession.

May Chaney will be remembered as a staunch republican whose door was always open and will be sadly missed by her family, friends, and all those in the Dublin republican family. I measc laochra na nGael a raibh sí.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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