#217 Maureen Conway Maher

 

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Maureen Conway Maher

Maureen’s love for her Irish heritage has taken her on quite a journey.  She has dedicated her whole life to preserving and promoting her heritage culture.

Maureen was born and raised in the culturally rich Irish community of Shannon Quebec, near Quebec City. Her father, Martin Conway, of Lahinch, Co. Clare, Ireland was himself a witness to a defining moment in Irish history – he was present at Béal na mBláth the day that Michael Collins was shot.

Maureen’s mother, Julia Donaldson, was 4th generation Irish and so Maureen’s cultural heritage has deep roots and is a source of immense pride and love for all things Irish.

Always civic-minded and community-oriented, Maureen has a long list of accomplishments and firsts to her credit:  she is one of the founders of the Shannon Irish Show, which just celebrated its 50th consecutive year this past year; she held the position of president of the CWL in Shannon for a two-year term and later was elected as president of the Quebec City Diocese, again for a two-year mandate.  In the International Year of the Woman, 1975, Maureen was the first woman elected as municipal councillor, for a four-year mandate.

She went on to serve as the first woman mayor of Shannon and remained in the position for 10 years. While in office, Maureen hosted a number of Irish parliamentarians who were in Shannon as part of an organized Irish celebration.

Later, when Maureen was in Ireland, she was received at a luncheon at Leinster House and was asked to speak about her impressions of Ireland and the differences and similarities between Ireland and Canada.

During her time in office, Maureen, along with her husband, the late Roy Maher,  himself a 4th generation Irish, raised three children – Angie, Jimmy and Darren. She also enjoyed a long career with the Bank of Montreal having worked in Montreal, Valcartier and Quebec City.

Maureen’s involvement with Comhaltas began when she attended the 1989 Convention in Ottawa.  She became a member at that time, and later, when she re-located to Ottawa in 1991, her significant leadership experience was the gain for the Ottawa Branch.  She’s since held the positions of chair and vice-chair (twice) as well as chairing the North American Convention held in Ottawa ten years ago. Maureen has also worked on a number of Echoes of Erin tour committees.   Maureen has long been a voting delegate on the Regional Board and was the Vice-Chair.    In 2009 she was inducted into the CCÉ Canada East Region Music Hall of Fame.

Her three grand-daughters, Grace, Molly and Emma are the loves of her life and she is a very active grandmother indeed.