Miss O’Reilly

‘She was always ready to shoulder extra burdens and she was never known to fail in any crisis.’ MSP34REF60388.

Mary O’Reilly joined Cumann na mBan in 1917, and became a member of the Colmcille Branch, located in Blackhall Street, North West Dublin. She was attached to the First Battalion. Her brothers were members of ‘A’ company of the 1st Battalion IRA. They were arrested in December 1920 MSP34REF60388. Her sister Brigid was her superior officer and also served on the Executive of Cumann na mBan for a short time. 

Mary O’Reilly was appoint Adjutant of Cumann na mBan at a time when there was 75 members on the roll. Her tasks were drilling, first aid, making dressings and visiting prisoners in Mountjoy Jail. She was involved in reporting to the District Council weekly, there she received instructions for her organising work.   She was also involved in moving arms and ammunition to and from Aughrim Street. 

She was considered ‘one of the most active members of her unit.’ During this period she worked in Sibleys, Stationary Shop, 51 Grafton Street. She lost her job at the end of 1918. No reason given, but it is mentioned in her pension files, so it was likely that it was a result of her political activities. She was unemployed for three months. MSP34REF60388.

In April 1919 she became paid Secretary to the Republican Prisoners’ Dependents Committee which occupied the same office as the Cumann na mBan Headquarters. She was available at all times for Cumann na mBan, giving full-time service. 

She was appointed to the Executive of Cumann na mBan in October 1919, in place of Lily O’Brennan.  She became an organiser in Wicklow and Carlow. She went to inspect and organise branches. 

She was Co-Treasurer of Cumann na mBan Organisation from 1920-1922. After the Treaty she said she played no active part, elsewhere she says she was active up to May 1922.  She took no part in the Civil War. MSP34REF60388.

Máire never married. She lived with her sister Brigid, who was also a spinster. She worked in the Civil Service in the 1930s and 1940s in the Department of Local Government and Public Health (National Health Insurance). Her office was in the Customs House. 

She was awarded a pension in 1946. She lived in her later years at 276 North Circular Road, Dublin.  She died aged 68 on 18th April 1958 in Dublin Airport. The exact circumstance of her death are unknown. MSP34REF60388.