Miriam Daly

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Miriam Daly (1928 – 26 June 1980) was an Irish republican activist and university lecturer who was assassinated by the loyalist Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

Background and personal life

She was born in the Curragh Irish Army camp, County Kildare, Ireland. She grew up in Hatch Street, Dublin, attending Loreto College on St Stephen's Green and then University College, Dublin, graduating in history. The economic historian George O'Brien[1] supervised her MPhil in economic history, on Irish emigration to England. She went on to teach economic history in UCD for some years before moving to Southampton University with her husband, Joseph Lee. Two years after her first husband died, she remarried, to James Daly, returning to Ireland with him in 1968. They both were appointed lecturers in Queen's University, Belfast.[citation needed]

Civil Rights activist

She soon became an activist in the civil rights movement, particularly following the introduction of internment without trial by the Stormont government. She was active in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and the Northern Resistance Movement.[citation needed]

She was a militant member of the Prisoners' Relatives Action Committee, and the national Hunger Strike Committee. In that campaign, she worked with Seamus Costello, and soon joined him in the Irish Republican Socialist Party and the Irish National Liberation Army.[2] After Costello was assassinated, she became chairperson, leading the party for two years. During this time she and her husband James were instrumental in opposing Sinn Féin's drift towards federalism.[citation needed]


On 26 June 1980[3][4] Daly was shot dead at home, in the Andersonstown area of west Belfast. At the time of her assassination, she was in charge of the IRSP prisoners' welfare.[citation needed]

According to reports in The Irish Times, members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) had gained entry to her home with the intention of killing her husband, who was also a republican activist.[5] Daly was captured and tied up whilst they waited for him to return home. However, he was in Dublin at the time and so did not arrive.[5] After a considerable time, the UDA men decided to kill Daly instead. Muffling the sound of the gun with a cushion, they shot her in the head and cut the phone lines before fleeing. Her body was discovered when her ten-year-old daughter arrived home from school.[5]

Daly was buried in Swords, County Dublin.[citation needed] Mourners at her funeral, which featured the firing of a volley of shots over her coffin, included Seán Mac Stíofáin and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh.[5] She is included as a volunteer on the INLA monument in Milltown Cemetery[5] and is one of several commemorated by an IRSP mural on the Springfield Road, Belfast.[6]


  1. ^ http://www.ricorso.net/rx/az-data/authors/o/OBrien_G1/life.htm
  2. ^ Unveiling of Memorial for Miriam Daly 3 June 2003
  3. ^ IRSM Roll of Honour
  4. ^ Sutton Index of Deaths: 26 June 1980, CAIN
  5. ^ a b c d e David McKittrick et al, Lost Lives, Mainstream Publishing, 208, p. 830
  6. ^ Murals of Northern Ireland

External links

  • Straight from the Heart - an interview with Miriam Daly's widower, Jim Daly accessed 24 April 2008
  • IRSP: Miriam Daly Commemoration Speech 25 June 2005 accessed 24 April 2008
  • Unveiling of Daly/McNamee Plaque 22 June 2003 accessed 24 April 2008
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