Daughter of republican Máire Drumm seeks answers to murder 40 years on

Máire Drumm has said the identity of her mother's killers are "irrelevant" as she wants to know who gave the order for the shooting. Picture by Hugh Russell
John Monaghan

THE daughter of a prominent republican shot dead in her hospital bed by loyalists 40 years ago, has said she wants to know who gave the order to have her killed.

Máire Drumm, who was vice president of Sinn Féin, was killed on October 28, 1976, by loyalist gunmen dressed as doctors as she recovered from eye surgery in the Mater Hospital in Belfast.

The Police Ombudsman's Office announced in July that it would investigate claims of police collusion in the murder.

Only one person, a former security guard at the Mater Hospital called Samuel Mathers, has ever been convicted in connection with the murder.

Mrs Drumm's daughter, also called Máire, said he wants to know who gave the order to have her mother killed saying she believes she was "a thorn in the side of the British establishment" who wanted to "get rid of her."

As the family prepare to mark the 40th anniversary of her killing on Friday, Ms Drumm said: "It is irrelevant to me who pulled the trigger as I believe the state were responsible for it.

"Where did they (the gunmen) get their orders from? She was a thorn in the side, the way she roused people. They wanted her shut up, just like Pat Finucane.

"The state used them as pawns. Some of them thought they were doing it for God and Ulster."

Máire Drumm recalls the night her mother was shot:

An inspirational figure for republicans, Máire Drumm was reviled by others and even dubbed the 'Granny of Hate' by one tabloid newspaper in Britain.

Mrs Drumm served several terms in prison for offences including speeches made in support of IRA violence.

Some of her more infamous remarks encouraged people to "join the IRA" and "send the British soldiers home in their coffins."

Her daughter Máire was a republican prisoner in Armagh jail at the time of the murder. She recalled how after being refused a visa to travel to the US for an operation on cataracts, the former Sinn Féin vice-president had been admitted to the hospital on the Crumlin Road for the procedure.

Her daughter said: "People have asked why she went to the Mater. But she had a great affinity with it and had been taught by the Mercy Nuns and it was looked upon that inside a hospital was a sanctuary."

Her death left behind five children - Seámus, Seán, Margaret, Catherine and Máire - and her husband Jimmy, a fellow republican, who died in 2001.

Ms Drumm said she believes her mother would "not have voted for the Good Friday Agreement", but added that she feels angry about some of the depictions of her.

"She was 57 when she died and her whole life had been spent fighting against it, but she wasn't this war hungry person. Armed struggle was a means to an end.

"At the time she had two grandchildren and they were the only ones she got to know. We are very proud of her and proud to tell her grandchildren about her

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