éirígí in Belfast marked the 100th anniversary of the formation of Cumann na mBan with a film night and political discussion on Wednesday 2nd April.
The well attended event, held in the party’s recently opened Belfast premises, featured a screening of ‘Irish Revolutionary Women’ charting the role of women in struggle from the era of the Land League through to the Easter Rising of 1916, the Tan War years and subsequent period of the Treaty debates and the Civil war.
The film nights and discussions form part of a planned series of such events being held under the ‘Radical Reels’ title.
Wednesday’s event focussed on the formation of various Republican women’s organisations including Cumann na mBan and the active involvement and roles played by women in some of the most important years of Irish history.
During the discussion which took place afterwards, women activists and former Óglaigh shared their experiences of events on the streets and in the gaols.
They highlighted that the struggle for women wasn’t just on the streets or at the barricades but was also at home and among their peers, and yet without much complaint, they soldiered on.
Many people tend to forget, and often times are made to forget, the very important contribution made by women in the Irish struggle for freedom.
This fact was very well made on Wednesday evening when it was pointed out that not only were attempts made to airbrush out the active and role of women in history, they were literally airbrushed out of the very photographs that served as evidence of their heroic endeavours, as happened in the case of Cumann na mBan member and nurse Elizabeth O’Farrell in 1916.
O’Farrell’s image was removed from photographs which showed her accompanying Pádraic Pearse as he formally surrendered to British forces.
Ex-political prisoner and éirígí Colin representative Máire Óg Drumm brought along her mother Máire’s national flag and beret on the evening.