UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Inez McCormack - a life that changed so many other lives

A report by Frank Hont on this weekend's celebration of the life and work of Inez McCormack 1943 -2013. To Belfast in Saturday's heavy snow and strong winds. A journey tinged with sadness at the loss of a friend and comrade but a journey made to honour her memory. Inez McCormack died earlier this year and our movement lost someone who will be long remembered with affection and respect by all those who came into contact with her:

She was the Northern Ireland Regional Secretary of UNISON and NUPE during some very difficult times. But she was much more than that. She loved and respected the members she organised, represented and negotiated for - and in return they loved and respected her. Trade unions are often described as dry, bureaucratic organisations by those who known nothing about them. We know different. We know about comradeship, solidarity, collective struggle and friendship. We know about people like Inez.

On Saturday we met in Elmwood Hall, Belfast to celebrate a life dedicated to peace, participation and equality. Musicians from the Ulster Orchestra played, trade unionists, community activists, politicians, friends and family gathered to hear reminiscences and tributes to Inez. Journalist Susan McKay hosted a memorable array of speakers including former Irish President (and close friend of Inez) Mary Robinson and current President Michael D Higgins.

The Inez McCormack Fund was launched to build on her legacy and to move forward the commitments made in the Good Friday Agreement. Also, we heard from UNISON's Patricia McKeown and movingly from Inez's family.

Those of us privileged to be present knew that Inez stood for generosity and loyalty. She believed in the best of humanity. Friendship was her forte, laughter her default position. Not a bad way to be remembered in a world of greed and sleaze.

To find out more about Participation and the Practice of Rights go to http://www.pprproject.org/ - a vital organisation which will continue the work of an indomitable women and class fighter who was 'loathed in high places and loved in low places'

Frank Hont