Josephine Bernadette Devlin McAliskey – England

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Josephine Bernadette Devlin McAliskey (born 23 April 1947, in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland), also known as Bernadette Devlin and Bernadette McAliskey, is a Socialist republican political activist. She served as a Member of Parliament at Westminster from 1969 to 1974 for the Mid Ulster constituency … (full long text).

Bernadette Devlin McAliskey (born 1947) was a student at Queen‘s University, Belfast, when the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland took to the streets in 1968. Bernadette became its radical icon and she was elected to the House of Commons in 1969. Having lost that seat in 1974, she campaigned for the Irish Republican Army (IRA) hunger strikers in 1980/81. In recent years, she has opposed the Good Friday Agreement of April 1998 on the grounds that it cemented British rule and Irish partition … (1000peacewomen 1/2).

She says: “Many people who have come through 30 years of struggle have found themselves isolated, disowned at the most personal level. The post revolutionary period has no time for enlightened criticism”.

Read: Chapter 12 from her book: ‘The Price of My Soul’, by Bernadette Devlin (1969).


Josephine Bernadette Devlin McAliskey – England

She works for the Irish Republican Socialist Party IRSP.

Listen her on this video: Bernadette McAliskey – James Connolly commemoration, 4.58 min, May 23, 2008.

… She was saying jokingly that “between the pomposity of Bew and the extravagance of McCann, I might look like the sane one”. (full text, August 2, 2008).

Find her and her publications on Google Video-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Blog-search.

… Her radical left-wing politics resulted in conviction of incitement to riot in December 1969. She had actively engaged, on the side of the residents, in the ‘Battle of the Bogside’, which is widely marked as the beginning of Northern Ireland’s 30 year “Troubles”. She served a short jail term. After being re-elected in the 1970 general election, Devlin declared that she would sit in Parliament as an Independent Socialist … (full text).

Biography Research Guide.

(1000peacewomen 2/2): … “So, people now want much more than they would happily have settled for. If, instead of beating our heads on 5th October 1968, the government had given us housing and votes, we would probably all have gone home and left it at that,” says Bernadette Devlin McAliskey.

After the murderous ambush on herself and her husband by loyalist killers in 1981, Bernadette understandably does not welcome strangers to her home in the town of Coalisland. It is most surprisingly to see how much she had aged and how careless she had become about her appearance, the girl in the mini skirt who had slapped a British Home Secretary in the House of Commons.

Yet, her sharp and unforgetful analysis of the conflict in Northern Ireland was punctuated by a wry humor and her eyes sparkled like they must have done all that time ago. She still is a formidably foe of all those who have settled comfortably into the status quo. She lamented the British obsession with security legislation and policy at the time and spoke about a government that only understood the language of force. “And people like myself are left bankrupt and are consistently arguing, as we do, that there is some other way.”

She has, therefore, never fully answered the question about her attitude to violence – she would probably say it‘s the wrong question. And so, she has, over the years, mixed with curious people, always searching for political soul mates but rarely finding them. McAliskey was always stronger in her analysis of the past and present than in her expectancies for the future. Because, whereas her own motivation has, over time, clearly become ideological and favorably disposed to the radical left, the guiding forces in Northern Ireland have remained tribal. Today, she has become a marginal, slightly bitter voice, but powerful nonetheless whenever she chooses to speak up. (1000peacewomen 2/2).

McAliskey recalls ’sheer terror’, 15 May, 2001.

… Bernadette found out when she visited the U.S. in the early 1970s that: “I was not very long there until, like water, I found my own level. ‘My people’ — the people who know about oppression, discrimination, prejudice, poverty and the frustration and despair that they produce — were not Irish Americans. They were black, Puerto Rican, Chicano. And those who were supposed to be ‘my people’, the Irish Americans who know about English misrule and the Famine and supported the civil-rights movement at home, and knew that Partition and England were the cause of the problem, looked and sounded to me like Orangemen. They said exactly the same things about blacks that the loyalists said about us at home. In New York, I was given the key to the city by the mayor, an honour not to be sneezed at. I gave it to the Black Panthers” … (full text).

Bernadette Devlin McAliskey Barred Entry to the United States, February 22, 2003.

She says also: … “I think there are two perceptions – the perception of me from the outside which sees the north of Ireland as ‘them’ and ‘us’, Catholics and Protestants, and me therefore as part of one side. And then there is the perception here, on the inside, which is more complex and sees me not as Catholic, but rather as a socialist, a feminist and someone who has had nothing to do with the Catholic Church for 30 years except to criticise it. “I’m therefore an outsider and I don’t think it is any accident that I have found myself working with people on the margins.” More complex, too, she says, warming to her theme and carrying you along with her train of thought as once she used to work a crowd, is the now familiar and internationally lauded story of the Peace Process. “There are two peace processes here,” she begins, patiently, “one top down and one bottom up. One which makes all the soundbites and generates all the headlines and one which has been very much overshadowed by the other. There’s the Peace Process that everybody sees – the all-singing, all-dancing one. That’s the big process” … (full long text, 29 July 2007).

Bernadette McAliskey: ‘The oppressor demands loyalty’.

The mother of freed IRA suspect Roisin McAliskey has attacked Germany’s case against her daughter. Roisin McAliskey is wanted in Germany to face charges in connection with an IRA mortar attack on a British army barracks in Osnabruck in 1996. Her mother, Bernadette McAliskey also blamed the collapse of her daughter’s physical and mental health on Roisin’s treatment at the hands of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. She said her daughter’s condition had been caused by the way in which Roisin was imprisoned and questioned, while pregnant, at Castlereagh in Northern Ireland … (full text).

Gunmen shoot civil rights campaigner, January 16, 1981.

… Róisín McAliskey has returned home to her Coalisland home for an emotional Easter reunion with her family after a 16-month detention in British custody. A near-tearful Bernadette McAliskey yesterday said her daughter was “recovering well” from the ordeal while her granddaughter, 10-month-old baby Loinnir, was “in great health”. “They’re both coming along fine. All they want to do is to recover from their experience and get on with their lives,” said the former mid-Ulster MP … (full text, 20 June 2007).

Devlin is ‘very ill’ after shooting, January 17 1981.


the Google-book: Ulster’s White Negroes, 133 pages, 1994;;


Comments are closed.