Thursday 24 January 2019

Lissadell starts off new season with a 'bang'

Micheal Martin gave a speech at Lissadell. Pic: Carl Brennan
Micheal Martin gave a speech at Lissadell. Pic: Carl Brennan

Eddie Walsh and Constance Cassidy presented Cork South Central TD and leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin with a copy of Countess Markievicz's party membership card which is on display in their new exhibition dedicated to her, "I want to assure him, that Constance was a paid-up member," he joked to ripples of laughter after the speeches were finished.

The co-owners invited Deputy Martin as Countess Markievicz was a member of the party and he is its current leader.

"I'm very pleased with how today went," Constance told The Sligo Champion afterwards.

"A lot of the local community came out to support us. Eddie always wants to have the season at Lissadell start off with a bang so it was he who decided that he wanted to have an exhibition focused on women and that was why we opened this," she said, in between congratulatory handshakes from well-wishers.

"I think it's clear that Micheál Martin regards very seriously his voting women members and women in general.

"What we felt when we conceived the exhibition, we just wanted to honour women. Women as they are, women who worked, who fought for 100 years, to create the Ireland we live in today.

"I think the passion and fire of the women that I have chosen comes from Eva Gore-Booth, the pacifist, the person who committed to social justice, and Constance Markievicz, utter revolutionary.

"The two girls starting off in a small little school in Drumcliffe and saying women are entitled to vote and it's perfectly clear that no democracy can even be conceived of as a democracy unless it gives its citizens equal rights.

"The reason we have a question mark over the exhibition title is because there is still apparently a huge gender gap and pay disparity and also nothing like what there should be in public representation for women that there is for men.

"So I think women still have to keep on fighting. We have to fight. We can still like men, we can still like each other but we have to fight for equality. We're not looking for anything more than anyone else. We're not looking to be treated better than anybody else. We're not looking to be paid more than anybody else. All we're looking for is to be equal and we have to keep on fighting for justice like that," she said.

"Quite a lot of work has gone in to this," said Eddie earlier. "The driving force has been the girls and Constance. Whilst we've had some tremendous centenary celebrations there was really nothing for women. As the father of four girls, I don't want to see them discriminated against. I want to see them achieve what they want to achieve. Things are changing but as we know from the pay discrimination things aren't fully achieved," he said.

Sligo Champion