Mairead Corrigan-Maguire


Mairead Corrigan-Maguire
(1944)



Northern Irish social worker who, with Betty Williams, founded the Community of Peace People, also known as the Peace People Organization, a grassroots movement of both Roman Catholic and Protestant citizens dedicated to ending the sectarian strife in Ulster. For their work the two women shared the 1976 Nobel Prize for Peace.
Corrigan-Maguire was from her youth a member of the Legion of Mary, a lay Catholic welfare organization, and through it she became deeply involved in social work among children and teenagers in various Catholic neighbourhoods of Belfast. She was stirred to act against the growing violence in Northern Ireland after witnessing in August 1976 an incident in which a car being driven by an Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorist went out of control when the IRA man was shot by British troops; the car struck and killed three children of Corrigan-Maguire's sister. Betty Williams was also a witness. Within days each woman had publicly denounced violence and called for mass opposition to it. Marches of Catholic and Protestant women, numbering in the thousands, were organized, and shortly afterward the Community of Peace People was founded based on the conviction that genuine reconciliation and prevention of future violence were possible primarily through the integration of schools, residential areas, and athletic clubs. The Community published a biweekly paper, Peace by Peace, and provided a bus service for families of prisoners to and from Belfast's jails. Although Betty Williams broke away from the Community of Peace People in 1980, Corrigan-Maguire remained an active member of the group.


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