The Irish Women Workers Union

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Margaret MacCurtain
Margaret Mac Curtain was born into the Free State in 1929 and was fortunate enough to teach story-telling to nine year olds and then the history of Ireland and Europe to the pupils of Sion Hill Secondary School, and then to introduce women’s history to the students of history at UCD and to women’s groups around the country. Her first venture into publishing women’s history was a paperback,Women in Irish Society,Arlen House 1978, a hugely succesful Thomas Davis radio series for the EEC decade of women. She herself wrote the essay “Women the vote and revolution” and researched amazing women hidden from Irish history: Delia Larkin, Hanna Sheehy Skeffington,Louie Bennet, Helena Moloney, Mary Galway, Rosie Hackett and a host of others now part of the school curriculum. The Irish Women Worker’s Union is part of that story and their role in the Great Lockout Strike in 1913 is recognised as a significant factor in keeping up the morale of the strikers. Keenly interested in the keeping of records and archives, she chaired the National Archives Advisory Council for six years and with seven other women co-edited the two volume Field Day Anthology of Irish Women’s Writings in 2002.
Rita Fagan is s both a committee member and a patron on the IWWU Commemoration Committee. More detail on her background is available on the committee page here.
Maeve Higgins is a comedian and writer from Cobh. She starred in RTE’s Naked Camera and went on to make her own comedy/cookery series for RTE with her sister Lilly called ‘Fancy Vittles’. It was a cult hit! She also writes a regular diary piece for RTE Radio 1’s Weekend on One show.
She writes a weekly column for The Irish Times. Her first book, a collection of essays entitled ‘We have a good time…don’t we?’ was published by Hachette last year and nominated for Best Newcomer in The Irish Book Awards.
Maeve has part ownership of a very gentle Alsation.
Photograph by Stephanie Joy

Photograph by Stephanie Joy

Paula Meehan was born and reared in the north inner city of Dublin. She has published six award winning collections of poetry, most recently Dharmakaya and Painting Rain. A selection of seminal work from the 80’s and 90’s, Mysteries of the Home, has been republished by Dedalus Press in early 2013. Her work for theatre includes Cell, a play for four women set in a Dublin prison, and Mrs. Sweeney, a play that examines the impact of AIDS on an inner city family. She has also written plays for children with TEAM Theatre Company and for the National Theatre at the Peacock. Music for Dogs: work for radio is a collection of radio plays that focus on suicide during the boom years. She has collaborated with a diverse group of visual artists, dancers, and musicians throughout her working life. She has been Writer Fellow in Residence at Trinity College, Dublin, Writer by Association at University College, Dublin, Poet in Residence at Dublin City University, as well as visiting poet at many institutions in Ireland and abroad. She has been involved in literacy projects in her native city, and worked with recovering drug users. She has conducted workshops in the prisons of the Republic and in many community contexts. She was elected to Aosdána in 1996.

Jack O’Connor is the president of SIPTU