Mary Campbell

by Anthony Coughlan

MARY CAMPBELL, wife of the late Flann Campbell, who edited the Irish Democrat in the late 1940s, died in Dublin on 30 January at the age of 85 after a short illness.

Born Mary Moss in Dublin, her father was a British soldier, her mother a Dubliner, she was brought to London as a child. She married her first husband, David Francis, a naval officer, at the outbreak of World War II, and had a daughter, Rosheen, by him. He died in India in 1943.

She was well-known in Connolly Association circles during the war and was a friend of the Spanish civil war veteran Jim Prendergast. She married Flann Campbell in 1947, by whom she had a son, Christy.

In the 1950s and 1960s she worked in London documentary film-making circles and started a book-selling business, specialising in Irish books, of which she built up a splendid library.

She and her husband returned to Ireland at the end of the 1980s. Although it was a bigger wrench for her than for him, she developed new Irish interests. She wrote a biography of the 19th century novelist, Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan), was one of the founders of the Irish Women’s Commemoration and Celebration Committee, was a committee member of the Desmond Greaves Summer School and was active in the Dublin Byron Society.

Flann Campbell died in 1994. Their home in Green Road, Blackrock, was the centre of a wide circle of literary, artistic and political people.

She was a fine stylist, very knowledgeable on Irish literature. She wrote a number of press articles on literary figures and contributed essay pieces to the popular RTÉ radio programme, Sunday Miscellany.

In her last years she became good friends of her Blackrock neighbours Mary and Michael Behan and of the EU-critical political activist John O’Dowd, who sadly died during her own last illness.

A person of warm, enthusiastic and generous temperament, Mary Campbell was a remarkable Irishwoman and will be remembered by all who knew her.

John Platts-Mills

by Jim Redmond, Connolly Association

THE CONNOLLY Association and the Irish Democrat are among those to have mourned the passing of John Platts-Mills QC, who died late last year.

In our struggles to improve the status of the Irish in Britain and in our seeking of a more just society in Northern Ireland, John Platts-Mills was always available as a friend to advise on the iniquities of the law. His recommendations, freely given, were much appreciated.

An example of this was when John was approached and consulted on the Constitution of Northern Ireland and the Government of Northern Ireland Act 1920.

In the Westminster parliament it had been asserted that there was a convention that prohibited MPs with English constituencies raising questions about Northern Ireland, when there was no restriction on Northern Ireland's MPs speaking on issues affecting the rest of the United Kingdom.

This denial of democracy led to the campaign to reform the Stormont government. The advice of John Platts-Mills confirming the responsibility of parliament and not the government was instrumental in the bringing of the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights to both the House of Commons by Albert Latham MP and to the House of Lords by Lord Brockway in 1972. Unfortunately, Tory whips ensured defeat. In the consequences all have suffered in the past thirty years.

We mourn the passing of a good friend of Ireland.

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2002-03-30 14:43:57.
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