Gormley pays tribute to late Máire Mullarney


"ONE OF Ireland's most original thinkers," was how Minister for the Environment and Green Party leader John Gormley described the late Máire Mullarney, who died yesterday in Dublin in her 87th year.

Ms Mullarney was a founding member of the Greens in Ireland and a member of South Dublin County Council for eight years. She first became involved in politics many years earlier as a participant in the campaign to ban corporal punishment in schools.

She was also an advocate of home schooling and wrote several books on the subject; a keen proponent of the international language Esperanto; an activist in the women's movement and founder-member of the Irish Family Planning Association; a long-time member of the National Union of Journalists and regular contributor to the Women First page of The Irish Times; and a strong opponent of South African apartheid.

The original manifesto for the Ecological Party of Ireland, forerunner of the Greens, was written on the kitchen table of her home in the Dublin suburb of Rathfarnham in 1981.

She ran for the Dáil in the Dublin South-East constituency but did not win a seat; however, she did succeed in getting elected to South Dublin County Council for the Rathfarnham local electoral area in 1991 and served until 1999, when she stepped down.

She was born Máire McCormick in Dublin on September 1st, 1921, and, while she was still a child, the family moved to Gibraltar where her father, Alexander, was postmaster-general. Returning to Ireland in 1942, she trained as a nurse at Baggot Street Hospital and also qualified as a therapist. She had 11 children; her husband, Seán Mullarney, who worked as an accountant with the Dublin Port and Docks Board, predeceased her in 2000.

Mr Gormley said in a statement: "I am very saddened to hear of the death of Máire today. She was a huge influence on the development of the party and her work in the areas of education and language influenced the party greatly. Máire's tenacity and enthusiasm were infectious.

"She served on South Dublin County Council along with my ministerial colleague Trevor Sargent and was always popular with members across all parties. She will be remembered affectionately as a loyal and dedicated member of the Green Party and one of Ireland's most original thinkers."