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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

Women’s education bursary set up in memory of the late Marian Finucane


by Sarah Finnan
09th Sep 2021

RTÉ

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The new bursary fund was set up in honour of Marian Finucane, with the aim being to help women who want to re-enter education.

The country went into mourning last January after state broadcaster RTÉ announced that Marian Finucane had passed away suddenly at her home. Just shy of her 70th birthday, the legendary radio personality began working for the station in the 1970s and had become a huge part of people’s lives in the years that followed. 

Soon establishing herself as a mainstay on Irish television and radio, she was the first presenter of Liveline, though it was her own self-titled show that most associated her with. Now almost two years on from her death, and a new bursary has been launched in her honour. 

Aimed at helping women who want to restart their education, the €20,000 fund will be distributed through the Women’s Fund of The Community Foundation for Ireland. As one of the first supporters of the fund, The Community Foundation for Ireland has generously donated €10,000 to the cause, which is being matched with a further €10,000 from a private donor.

Also coordinated by the community education service An Cosán, the money will go towards providing financial support to those looking to access further education while simultaneously helping women to access employment and improve their general well-being too. 

Passionate about education and learning herself, Marian’s husband John Clarke, said that women’s education was a particular area of interest for her.  Speaking at the launch, he commented, “There is a simple, basic truth – if you educate a woman, you educate a family. If you educate a man, he gets a job. This has been proven time and time again

“There are a group of women who, through social circumstances, haven’t availed of, or perhaps avoided due to social reasons, the right to be educated.

“Marian was passionate about education and particularly the education of women – education for self-respect and education for its knock-on effect in their families. Our aim is to assist these women to get back into education, principally for their own self-respect. The upside of this is that they will help the children to stay in education and break the vicious circle of apathy, indifference, and social ostracism,” he finished.

Describing Ms Finucane as a “champion for equality”, Denise Charlton, chief executive of The Community Foundation of Ireland, told RTÉ, “As a feminist, she broke new ground ending the silence over issues like contraception, abortion, rape and women’s employment.

“No history of equal rights in Ireland is complete without acknowledging the role Marian played in opening up national conversations on women’s lives, women’s bodies, women’s health, women’s choices and women’s voices.”

It’s hoped that the fund will grow over time which will facilitate the bursary to continue helping women all across the country.

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