Saturday June 6, 2020

The revolutionary woman Ireland failed to honour

The state’s refusal to properly acknowledge the work of Kathleen McKenna, a firebrand in the fight for independence, reflects a broader problem in its attitude to women

3rd November, 2019
Kathleen McKenna pictured with Arthur Griffith, the nationalist leader and founder of Sinn Féin, in 1921, the year in which the Treaty was signed Pic: Getty

Recently released military archives revealed that a veteran of the independence struggle, Kathleen McKenna, was refused a military pension and service medal, and was offered instead a travel pass. This is her story.

On the night of December 5, 1921, as the Treaty negotiations in London reached their denouement, Kathleen McKenna received word at her London accommodation that she was needed back at the Irish HQ. She walked there with Michael Collins’s right-hand man, Ned...

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