Northern Irish human rights activist Inez McCormack dies


Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN Human Rights Commissioner said: “Inez was a remarkable woman with a remarkable capacity for friendship. She would want us to remember the positive issues she embraced with a combination of lateral thinking and supportive warmth: the McBride Principles; her leadership of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and her own Union, Unison; her championing of women's rights and combating gender based violence, at home and in countries of conflict.

“It was from Inez I learned that you can achieve much more if you don't need the credit. Her support to me as a close advisor when I served as President was invaluable, but she never appeared in photographs or in the front row.

“Inez had unique qualities of listening and affirming. They enabled her to encourage local communities - in Belfast initially, then throughout the island- to engage with the International Human Rights System and use it as a tool to empower them in addressing the quality and fairness of local authority services. This work was recognized recently by the Office of High Commissioner of Human Rights as a great example for other communities to follow.
“A life well lived. May she rest in peace.”

Among the honors awarded to Inez in her lifetime were the Eleanor Roosevelt Award from New York City (1997); an Honorary Doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast (2000); and Aisling Person of the Year Community Award (2001). Her writing has been widely published and was selected for inclusion in “The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing” (2002). More recently she published opinion editorials and articles on themes of peace building and social and economic progress.

Inez was married for over 40 years to Vincent (Vinny) and they have a daughter Anne, son-in-law Mark and grandchildren Maisie and Jamie. Originally from Belfast, Inez lived in Derry for the past 12 years. She had a deep and abiding affection for Derry and Donegal where her mother’s family originated and for the people of both places.