Inez McCormack (nee Murphy 28th September 1943 - 21 January 2013)
Inez McCormack was born into a Protestant family in Cultra, County Down, and attended Glenlola Collegiate School. She went to Magee College in Derry and began to learn about the abuse and misuse of power in the state of Northern Ireland; she then attended Trinity College Dublin. In 1966 she met and married Vincent McCormack, a founder member of the Derry Labour Party. They both became active in the Civil Rights movement, taking part in the Peoples Democracy march through Burntollet in 1969.
From the 70’s onwards Inez was to play a major role in the trade union movement, active on Belfast and District Trade Council and becoming the regional officer of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE now UNISON). As a regional officer, she gave immense support to the Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Movement.
She was active in the Northern Ireland- Irish Congress of Trade Unions Women’s Committee and was a commissioner on the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), representing the NI Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and resigning from the EOC for a period of time over disputes of irregularities. She became the first female president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (1999-2001) and was a signatory to the McBride Principles for fair employment.
Inez supported the Good Friday Agreement and continued to play a prominent role in the fight for human rights throughout her life. In 2006, she founded Participations and Practice of Rights (PPR), a human rights organisation that supports marginalised groups and is presently (2018) giving advice and support to Universal benefit claimants.
In 2010, Inez was featured in the American documentary play Seven which spotlights seven women from across the world that have brought major changes to their countries. Meryl Streep portrayed Inez McCormack. She died from cancer on the 21st January 2013, leaving behind her husband Vinnie and her daughter Anna. [LW]