|Maura McCrory (left) With Friends
As soon as I walked into the living room I was greeted by Alex and Duncan. I then met the rest of the family, some of whom for the first time.
A death in any family is a sad occasion but as I stood over the tricolour draped coffin I looked at Maura and was reminded of the many times I met her. I can't remember the exact time but the first was when me and Alex were in gaol together and Maura was visiting him and Jackie and our kids, Fionnghuala and Pádraig, were visiting me. Over the next lotta years I'd see her on other visits and we always said a few words to each other.
When I was released I would see Maura at many protests, rallies and functions for political prisoners here in Ireland, Palestine and Turkey. She was a quiet woman but had a lot of time for people who stood up for the oppressed and the impression I got from her was that she didn't suffer fools.
Whilst in the house four of her cousins - Frank, Harry, Séamus and Gerard Fitzsimons - were there and we got talking about Maura and given the fact we all have strong opinions we talked about the past, present and future. I was offered coffee and sandwiches which were very much appreciated. Not being the shy wee lad I was once upon a time I took a slice of Swiss roll when a tray of buns came around!
Up until today I didn't realise there are eight siblings in the McCrory clann and they couldn't be friendlier to me and the many other people who called to pay their respects. I left two hours later coming away knowing more about a woman I had a lot of time for.
Maura McCrory was very well known not only in Béal Feirste and she will be sadly missed especially by her family.