Thursday, October 23, 2008

Madge Davison - Civil Rights

Madge Davison - NICRA

Madge Davison was born 13th June 1950 and raised in

the strong Protestant working class community in the Shore Road area of North Belfast, where her family lived in Pittsburg Street. Madge remained proud of her Presbyterian background and their role in the "United irishmen".

She left school at the age of seventeen and started work as a secretary in the Falls Flax Spinning Mill on the Falls Road and soon joined the Communist Youth League.

In 1970 she took place in the breaking of the Falls curfew, when several hundred women marched in protest at being held within the area by the British Army.By the 1970's she had started working as full time organiser for the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA).

Many of her comrades in the Communist Party of Ireland who struggled to bridge the religious divide and build working class solidarity. People like Betty Sinclair President of Belfast Trades Union Council (see posting) Barry and Terry Bruton, Jimmy and Edwina Stewart, Joe Deighan, Andy Barr, Lynda Walker, Margaret Bruton, Noel Harris, Joe Bowers and many more....

Madge took part in the civil rights demonstration on Bloody Sunday in Derry, 1972 (she can be seen in television film, standing on the running-board of the lorry). Along with others she helped to organise the protest march in Newry the following week, and subsequently she organised the placing of a memorial in Derry to those who were killed.

Leader of the Connolly Youth Movement, she led the 11 4 Irish delegates at the 10th World Festival of Youth in Berlin in August 1973

She lead the tributes to Irish Communist and International Brigade leader Frank Ryan in Dresden

When her work with the NICRA finished she began to study law. She obtained a first-class honours degree from Queen’s University and became a barrister. She was respected in the profession for her ability to combine hard work with a down-to-earth approach to the law; her legal colleagues agree that she stood out as an exceptional barrister and gave much of herself to her work, standing out as a gifted advocate for human rights.

In January 1991 Madge was tragically diagnosed with cancer. She died on 27 January 1991, at the early age of forty-one, leaving behind her husband and comrade John Hobbs and two beloved young children.

Madge Davison was an outstanding communist, outstanding orator, and excellent organiser. During her short life she took part in many struggles and activities. She taught typing in Twinbrook, taught law in the Falls Women’s Centre, was an active member of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement, an adviser to the Rape Crisis Centre (Belfast), and a member of the Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Movement.

source: Communist Party of Ireland