President Michael D Higgins pays tribute to Eva Gore-Booth

Leader describes Constance Markievicz’s sister as a ‘remarkable figure’ in history

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to Irish activist Eva Gore-Booth, the sister of Constance Markievicz, describing her as "a remarkable, indeed quite extraordinary, figure, not just in Ireland's revolution, but also in the international trade union, suffrage and peace movements".

The President told the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in London that Gore-Booth’s achievements have been unjustly obscured by those of her more famous sister.

A feminist, a pacifist and trade unionist, Gore-Booth helped to organise textile workers in Britain and campaigned for women’s suffrage.

“It seems to me that all of us can draw great inspiration from Eva Gore-Booth’s integrated emancipatory instinct, from her unreserved commitment to the rights of the powerless and the disenfranchised.


“We can, too, recoup much needed courage and confidence in the knowledge that Eva Gore-Booth fought many battles against the dominant and distorting discourse of the established powers of her day – battles which, we know now, were pioneering, although she did not live to see most of them triumph,” the President said.


He said it would be a travesty to ignore Gore-Booth’s work and that her approach to campaigning for social change remained inspirational today.

“Eva was not limited by any sectional views. She was never sectarian, dismissive or excluding. She was driven by an uncompromising ethical consciousness of universal human rights.

“She was a woman who felt compelled to engage with injustices wherever she found them, possessed as she was by a deep ethical concern for the value of each human life, for everything that makes human life worth living – solidarity, freedom, construction, joy and love,” he said.

Earlier, the President attended a reception at the Irish Embassy for the launch in the UK of When Ideas Matter, a book containing a selection of his speeches since taking office.

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is China Correspondent of The Irish Times