Northern Ireland news

Maura Muldoon 'was a tireless advocate for human rights'

THE death of "tireless advocate for human rights" Maura Muldoon has drawn tributes from across Northern Ireland and the broad spectrum of organisations she dedicated herself to.

Ms Muldoon MBE made history in 2008 as the first female director of a senior Irish League club.

Her family said the Ardboe woman, who died on Friday from cancer, was "raging" she wouldn't live long enough to see her beloved Tyrone's All Ireland final - which the Red Hands went on to win.

She passed away "peacefully" at the east Belfast home she shared with her partner, former Probation Board chief executive Cheryl Lamont, and their two dogs Nina and Bella.

Until recently she had walked "up to 12k every day, usually in Ormeau Park and Edenderry (where she kept alpacas) in the morning before work".

At the time of her death Ms Muldoon was a commissioner for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, to which she was appointed a year ago following a career in a range of public bodies, focusing on embedding human rights and equality into their policies, procedures and practices.

The 62-year-old had worked as the PSNI head of community cohesion - the most senior female civilian with the service.

In 2017 she was presented with an Inspire Award by Chief Constable George Hamilton and Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris in recognition of her work inspiring others within the PSNI.

She was presented with an Inspire Award by then Chief Constable George Hamilton and former Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: “We are deeply saddened by the death of our former and esteemed colleague Maura Muldoon. 

"Maura was truly committed to mainstreaming equality and diversity and was instrumental in implementing our Gender Action Plan and Equality and Diversity strategies.

"She also played a lead role in embedding the Policing with the Community ethos in our employment and working practices. On behalf of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, I pass on our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt sympathies to her family and friends at this sad time.”

Her particular areas of interests at the Human Rights Commission was "in health and justice, particularly for children and young people".

Chief Commissioner Alyson Kilpatrick said she had been "highly valued" as a "commissioner and colleague".

"We are deeply saddened by the news of her death.

"She was a tireless advocate for human rights in Northern Ireland and a great support to her fellow commissioners and staff.

"She will be sorely missed by all of us. We send our condolences to her family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time."

The role followed work in the Sports Council and Ms Muldoon was head of diversity and equality at the Royal Victoria Hospital as well as a stint on the IFA board.

A former goalkeeper for Belfast United - later Glentoran WFC - she was a director of Glentoran FC from 2008 until 2010 and chair of Glentoran Women.

The club offered condolences to her partner, Cheryl, and to her brothers and sisters Eleanor, Sean, Michael and Grainne.

Chairman Stephen Henderson, who worked alongside her, described her as "a pioneer".

"Undaunted by glass ceilings or outdated perceptions, her election by the shareholders of the Glentoran Recreation Company in 2008 to the board of the club was something she took in her stride.

"In becoming the first woman to attain such a position in senior football, she brought a professionalism, calm demeanour and determination to ensure that she opened the door for others to follow.

"Her support and commitment to the development of women's football and to Glentoran Women in particular was well known.

"Keen to challenge stereotypes, inequality and prejudice whenever and wherever it reared its head, she made Glentoran a better club for her involvement and we are diminished by her passing."

He said she "laid the foundations upon which the recent success of Glentoran's Women had been built", describing it as "a fitting legacy to Maura's life in the sport she adored" and said "her influence will not be forgotten".

Ulster University academic Duncan Morrow said: "So sad to hear that Maura Muldoon has died. Irreverent, witty, straight as a die and completely committed to inclusion and diversity in all its aspects . I worked with Maura when she was at the Sports Council, on the Community Relations Council , in the PSNI and at Glentoran. She was a true original: I never knew what she would say next but I knew it would be honest, compassionate and authentic, No bulls**t, but lots of humour. Love to all who mourn a one off."

Requiem Mass will take place at 3pm in St. Colmcille's Church, Holywood on Thursday.

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