Kilmainham Gaol text Collection title

Helena Molony

Biography

In 1903 Helena Molony heard a speech by Maude Gonne and subsequently joined Inghinidhe na hÉireann, Gonne’s nationalist-feminist organisation. She became secretary in 1907 and helped to launch and edit Bean na hÉireann, the group’s monthly periodical. Along with Countess Markievicz, she helped to establish the Fianna Éireann in 1909 and, having previously assisted James Larkin to disguise himself during the 1913 Lockout, she deepened her involvement with the labour movement, becoming general secretary of the Irish Women Workers’ Union in 1915 and secretary of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) women’s group. She participated in the Easter Rising, taking charge of first aid and the commissariat in the City Hall garrison. Following the surrender, she was interned in Aylesbury prison until December 1916. She played an active role in the ICA during both the War of Independence and Civil War, taking an anti-Treaty stance on the latter occasion. Molony maintained her involvement in the labour movement until 1941, having served as President of the Irish Trade Union Congress from 1937 to 1938.

 

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