25 September 1997 Edition

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Fógraí bháis: Nellie McGlinchey

Derry republicans recently lost a remarkable woman whose active involvement in the freedom struggle spanned over four decades. Nellie McGlinchey was one of those rock-solid republicans whose dedication and readiness to act in support of the struggle was unquestionable.

She became involved in Cumann na mBan in the forties and fifties. When this current campaign began, Nellie was one of the first to offer support. After internment, her home in Rathlin Drive was in constant use by the Republican Movement. Hers was a thoroughgoing Republican family. Together with her husband Joseph, also active in previous campaigns, they helped in every possible way and worked tirelessly on behalf of Republican PoWs. They reared their children in a milieu of determined active resistance and quite often in the midst of raiding parties from one or another branch of the Crown Forces.

During Operation Motorman, when No-Go areas were invaded by the British Army, the McGlinchey home was, along with schools and other key installations in Free Derry, taken over by the occupation forces.

Nellie's friendship spanned nearly the entire Republican community, as well as her neighbours in Creggan beyond. She was a close friend of the many people, especially the young activists, to whom she opened her home. Eamonn Lafferty, the first volunteer shot dead by the British Army in the present campaign, was a close friend, and she was a founder member of the Eamonn Lafferty Sinn Fein Cumann.

During one of the many raids on the McGlinchey home, her close friend and neighbour, Mrs Kathleen Thompson was shot dead by the British Army. This deeply affected Nellie, who was a lifelong friend of Kathleen.

One of Nellie's deepest commitments was to her family, and she saw the many young volunteers who passed through her home as an extension of her own family. Always prepared to offer practical help, she saw a need and together with a few others founded the Relatives Action Committee in Derry. She was a key figure in the Prisoners Dependants Fund, the Magilligan Welfare Committee, and anti-internment campaigns

While travelling home on the PDF bus after visiting her son Patrick, then in Crumlin Road Jail, the bus veered off the road in bad weather. Nellie suffered devastating injuries. Despite months in hospital, she never really recovered from this. However, although her activities were severely limited, she remained a dedicated Republican until the time of her death. To her many friends throughout Ireland, and to her grieving children - Thomas, Patrick, Eamonn and Eileen - the Republican Movement extends its heartfelt sympathy.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1