||Helena Moloney was a part of the Suffragette Movement.|
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Helena Molony was a prominent Irish republican, Suffragette Feminist and Labour activist,Actress, Trade Union Organiser and Journalist. She fought in the 1916 Easter Rising and later became the second woman president of the Irish Trade Union Congress
Helena Molony was born in Dublin Ireland. Her parents were Michael and Catherine McGrath they ran a grocery,orphaned in early life, she did not get on with her stepmother she experienced an unhappy, if comfortable life.
She remembered I was a young girl dreaming about Ireland when I saw and heard Maud Gonne speaking by the Custom House in Dublin one August evening in 1903 . . . She electrified me and filled me with some of her own spirit.
In 1903 Helena Molony joined Inghinidhe na hÉireann (Daughters of Ireland) and began a lifelong commitment to the republican cause.She became the editor of the organisation's monthly newspaper in 1908 , Bean na hÉireann (Woman of Ireland). Constance Markievicz designed the title page, and wrote the gardening column John Brennan wrote for the paper and was on its production team contributors included Eva Gore Booth, [Susan Mitchell, and Katherine Tynan, as well as PH Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh, Roger Casement, Arthur Griffith and James Stephens. The paper included an eclectic selection of articles - fashion notes (involving Irish materials and Irish-made clothes), a labour column, cookery, politics, fiction, poetry Its readership was both male and female.
Helena Molony organised the supply of daily school meals to children in poor areas with the help of Maud Gonne MacBride, Marie Perolz and others, and pressured Dublin Corporation and other bodies to provide proper meals (meat and vegetables, and on Fridays rice and milk) to the starved children of Dublin city.
Helena Molony also had a career as an actress although her primary commitment was to her political work. She was credited with bringing many into the movement, including Constance Markievicz and Dr Kathleen Lynn, who wrote ‘We used to have long talks and she converted me to the national movement. She was a very clever and attractive girl with a tremendous power of making friends
James Connolly whose secretary she was for a time, and Constance Markievicz were both close colleague's .In November 1915 Connolly appointed her secretary of the Irish Women Workers' Union ,this union had been formed during the strike at Jacob's Biscuit Factory that was part of the 1913 Lockout, in succession to Delia Larkin.She was a prominent member of Cumann na mBan ("Women's League"), a republican women's paramilitary organisation formed in April 1914 as an auxiliary of the Irish Volunteers.
The Citizen Army soldiers attacked Dublin Castle during the 1916 Easter Rising Helena Molony was one of these solidiers .Her commanding officer, Seán Connolly was killed, and Molony was captured and imprisoned until December 1916. Molony recalled the day When we walked out that Easter Monday morning we felt in a very real sense that we were walking with Ireland into the sun. Molony and nine other women were involved in the Citizen Army’s dramatic raid on Dublin Castle, which resulted in the death of an unarmed policeman, Constable James O’Brien.
Following a unsuccessful attempt to burrow her way out of GoalKilmainham with a spoon, Molony became one of only five women to join over 2,500 male prisoners in England. She continued to protest and cause problems for the authorities at the jail at Aylesbury, using her links with Sylvia Pankhurst’s Suffrage Federation to publicise her conditions there.
Helena Molony became the first woman president of the Irish Trade Union Congress. She remained active in the republican cause during the 1930s, particularly with the Women's Prisoner's Defense League and the People's Rights Association.
She retired from public life in 1946, but continued to work for women's labour rights; she died in Dublin in 1967.
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