As part of the Votáil 100 celebrations a commemoration of the life of Mary Reynolds TD was held in Ballinamore Library last Friday, November 30.
MC on the night was Noirín Clancy, Chair of 50/50.
Chairperson of Leitrim County Council Sean McGowan welcomed the large gathering and spoke of the contribution of Mary Reynolds during her long political career and her service to the people of Leitrim and Sligo.
Mary McKiernan, granddaughter of Mary Reynolds outlined her life story and her entry into politics on the tragic death of her husband Paddy.
When she first became a TD in 1932, Mary was one of just two female TDs, the other being party colleague, Margaret-Collins O'Driscoll, sister of the late revolutionary Michael Collins.
Mary served as a Fine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim between 1932-1933 and 1937-1961. Mary proved herself as a very able politician in addition to being a mother and businesswoman.
Mary Savage, granddaughter, shared many stories and personal anecdotes with the audience which shed a light on her personality, her service to the people and on the times in which she lived.
Mairead McGuinness MEP and Vice President of the European Parliament then addressed the gathering. She noted Mary's long service as TD in a time when few women were involved in Politics, her strong character and her commitment to her area and people.
“Stoic and above all else true to her constituents - especially those in need, she gave long and dedicated service and is an inspiration to all, especially women.
“Her strength of character, her values and her strong faith are also worth noting,” she said.
“Celebrating her legacy is incredibly important, as is deepening our understanding and appreciation of how this remarkable woman entered politics, ran a family business and reared a large family, following the untimely death of her husband.
“Ms McGuinness said she seemed undaunted by those challenges and embraced public service as Cumann na nGaedheal/Fine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim.”
Gerard Reynolds, grandson of Mary Reynolds added some further insights into the life his grandmother lived and shared a letter from retired TD Brigid Hogan O’Higgins who joined the Dáil as a young deputy in 1957 and fondly remembered Mary Reynolds guiding her and advising her in her new role.
Mary holds the distinguished record for women winning Dáil elections, being returned 9/10 she contested.