Leading activist congratulates Meryl Street on Iron Lady award

Leading lady’s respect for Oscar winner

By Gemma Burns

A North Belfast human rights activist who was portrayed in a play a year ago by Oscar winner Meryl Streep has congratulated the actress on her latest golden statue. On Sunday the US actress won the best actress Oscar for her role in The Iron Lady, in which she played former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

In 2010 the critically acclaimed actress chose to play local women’s and human rights activist and trade unionist Inez McCormack in a reading of a documentary play SEVEN in New York in 2010.

Congratulating Meryl Streep on her Oscar success, Inez said she is proud such a talented actress chose to play her in the theatre.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Meryl Streep on her very well-deserved Oscar win,” she said.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Meryl at the opening night of the SEVEN production in New York two years ago. It was an extremely humbling experience to have your life story represented in this way and a privilege to have an Oscar winning actress and strong female character like Meryl Streep involved in the dramatisation.”

Inez said despite her own feelings as a trade unionist about Margaret Thatcher, Streep’s portrayal of the former prime minister was Oscar worthy.

“When I came out of the cinema having watched The Iron Lady, I had a real mixture of emotions,” she said.

“The formative years of my life as a union organiser, feminist and human rights activist were spent tackling the assault of Thatcherism on the humanity of the low paid public service women workers that I represented and on human rights in Ireland.

“We struggled against the selling of hygiene for profit and the reducing of good women to cheap functions for sale. We argued in vain against her view that regarded dialogue in Ireland as weakness rather than a non-violent mechanism to find solutions.

“Meryl’s brilliant acting demonstrating the diminishing of power is extraordinary. I found in myself an enormous emotional response to those scenes of bullying by men of women in a room – I lived through those years as the only woman in senior rooms in the male dominated trade union movement and it wasn’t easy,” she added.

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