Belfast Telegraph

I'm proud of my Provo girls, says maker of 'tasteless' £100 dolls

By Staff Reporter

A Scottish mum blasted for selling Irish republican dolls has said she is proud of them and will continue to make the items.

Cumbernauld woman Mariea Hughes said she makes the dolls in honour of the Cumann na mBan, an Irish republican women's group lauded for its role in the 1916 Easter Rising, but banned in the UK under the Terrorism Act.

The dolls in black coats and mini skirts are accessorised with sunglasses, a leather gun harness, plastic gun and beret topped with an Easter lily.

One photo of the dolls is captioned: "Three wee Provo girls ready to leave and head to their new homes".

The Sunday Post reported how a child stumbled upon the dolls online when she was looking for a Barbie.

Her mother told the paper she felt the dolls were "tasteless".

Posting online, Ms Hughes said the dolls were available for £100 each.

Just two weeks ago she wrote that she was making one for Joanna Byrne, a Sinn Fein member of Louth County Council.

Responding to newspaper reports, she said she was "proud of the Cumann na mBan girls".

She added: "It isn't the first or last time I'll honour them or their cause." She wrote that when asked by a journalist what she would say to those complaining about the dolls, that she told them to "read a history book".

A picture on her Facebook page shows a doll standing in front of a plaque printed with the words "of '69 arose the Provisionals" and a model gable end reading "You are now entering Free Derry".

The Cumann na mBan was commemorated by the Republic in 2014 when President Michael D Higgins laid a wreath in its honour at the Sigerson Memorial at Glasnevin Cemetery, which honours the dead of 1916. At the time An Post also issued a stamp paying tribute to the role of the women's group.

It is a proscribed organisation in the UK.

In Northern Ireland, the Cumann na mBan was integrated into the mainstream IRA during the Troubles, although it continued to exist as a separate organisation in the Republic.

The first meeting of the Cumann na mBan was held in Dublin on April 2, 1914. Constance Markievicz - a former president of the organisation - was elected the first female Member of Parliament in 1918.

In a previous post Ms Hughes sold badges commemorating the "H Block Martyrs", which retailed at £3 each.

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