Marie Mulholland

Marie Mulholland

Marie Mulholland is from Belfast. In 1979, at the age of 19, she was arrested with other members of Belfast Women Against Imperialism for protesting the conditions of women Republican prisoners held in Armagh prison. From the early 80s she worked as a community worker in West Belfast, first in Divis Flats where she was part of the group which campaigned and finally achieved the demolition of the Flats and new housing for the families living there, later as the community worker in Unity Flats she played an instrumental role in supporting the residents in the planning of their new housing scheme and play facilities for children.

Marie joined the N. I. union NUPE - (which later became UNISON) in 1982. Later with the support of its then Regional Secretary, Inez Mc Cormack she formed UNISON N.I.'s first LGB advisory group in the wake of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Marie was a member of UNISON's National LGB Committee throughout most of the 90s and a member of Unison's Regional N.I. Women's Committee. In 1987, Marie was given the Constance Markiewicz Award by the AFL-CIO in the US for her contribution as a trade unionist to the communities in which she worked and lived.

As a member of the Women's News Collective in the 80s, she branched out with two other Collective members and formed Maedbh Publishing which produced the first-ever Lesbian Cartoon Book set in Northern Ireland; Sappho Woman and the Greater Belfast Dykes and the book of essays by women North & South, Unfinished Revolution which sold out of both its editions.

In 1990, Marie co-founded the Women's Support Network, which brought together working-class women from Loyalist & Republican backgrounds to campaign for resources, rights and visibility of women in the most disadvantaged areas of Belfast. As coordinator of the WSN, she designed and delivered the Making Women Seen & Heard initiative, the first of its kind to provide a voice and visibility for women from all nine equality grounds including sexual orientation, and also developed the cross-border partnership POWER Programme for women.  During the most active time of the WSN, Marie negotiated the organisation's growing relationship with President Mary Robinson and issued the invitation, which brought the Irish President over the border for the first time. Marie also worked briefly in Derry in the early 90s and while there, organised that city's first Lesbian & Gay Pride Festival in 1993, which continues today.

In 1998, Marie moved to Dublin to complete an M.A. in Women Studies. In 2002, her thesis was published as a book and was to become the first biography of Dr Kathleen Lynn - 1916 Citizen Army leader and women’s rights activist. The book revealed for the first time that Kathleen Lynn had been in a long-term, committed lesbian relationship and also identified other key women rebels as lesbians. (The Politics & Relationships of Kathleen Lynn, Woodfield Press 2002)

In Dublin, Marie took up a position with the Republic's new Equality Authority where she had responsibility for the sexual orientation ground, producing the Authority's first national report: Equality and LGB Rights.

As an active supporter of Palestinian Rights, Marie spent 6 months from 2006-2007, in Ramallah on the West Bank, helping to organise a national conference on Violence against Women in Palestine.

Marie currently lives in West Cork with her partner where she is Co-ordinator of West Cork Women against Violence, the regional domestic violence support service.