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Sinn Fein councillor’s pride in British Army aunt

THE Republican nephew of a Ballyroney woman who served as a military nurse in the British Army has professed his pride in his aunt.

Brendan Curran, who now sits on Banbridge District Council, has spoken for the first time of his admiration for Mary O’Hare, who served in WWII and worked with the British Colonial Service.

The 62-year-old councillor, who spent more than seven years in Long Kesh prison after being convicted of conspiracy to cause an explosion in the 1970s, said he feels his aunt did what she thought was right and her role at Dunkirk made him proud of her.

Mary, who travelled all over the world in her nursing career, left Northern Ireland for Scotland aged just 14:

n Is thought to have been the only Irish woman to be awarded the Red Cross medal for bravery after she continued to treat the wounded in the face of German advances as British soldiers evacuated the beaches of the French town

n Worked in Uganda and India and met numerous dignitaries including Idi Amin, Mahatma Gandhi, the Queen Mother and Prince Charles

n Counted Sir Rex Hunt, a former RAF Flight Lieutenant and Governor of the Falkland Islands, among close friends.

Brendan, who said Mary would almost certainly have considered herself more British than Irish, said the two had a good relationship but did not see eye-to-eye on political matters.

“We would’ve got on very well but I wouldn’t have agreed with her politics,” said Brendan.

“I would say I am proud of what she did, certainly in the fight against Nazism. She wasn’t the only Irish person involved in the fight against Hitler.”

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