Republican matriarch Betty Anderson to be laid to rest

Martina Anderson pictured with her late mother Betty and the late Martin McGuinness two years ago.
Martina Anderson pictured with her late mother Betty and the late Martin McGuinness two years ago.

The funeral of the late Betty Anderson, the matriarch of a well-known family of Derry republicans, is set to take place in Derry this afternoon, following her sad passing on Friday.

Mrs. Anderson died peacefully, aged 92, at her home in Lisfannon Park.

The Bogside woman was the mother of Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson and former Sinn Féin councillor Peter Anderson, and the grandmother of the former Mayor, MLA and current Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion.

Two years ago Betty’s daughter Martina said she had been a solid republican all her life.

Speaking after the Anderson family home in the Bogside was subject to a bomb alert, she said: “My mother is one of the most solid republicans there has been.

“She has lived in that house for well over 30 years. Everybody knows my mother is in that home. Why would anybody do this?”

Mrs. Anderson had been suffering from dementia for a number of years and her granddaughter, Elisha, upon assuming the first ever mayoralty of Derry City and Strabane District Council in 2015, chose the Alzheimer’s Society as her charity for the year, in honour of Betty, whom she described as her ‘inspiration’.

Speaking candidly at the time, Mrs. McCallion said: “Many families, including my own, have felt the impact of dementia at first hand.

“My own grandmother, Betty Anderson, an inspirational figure to me and many in my wider family circle, has been dealing with Alzheimer’s and I have watched as my mother and her sisters look after my granny with such care and dedication,” she said.

Mrs. Anderson lived to see her granddaugter become the first republican elected in a General Election in Derry since Eoin MacNeill was elected to the First Dáil.

She is pre-deceased by her late husband, William (Dinky) Anderson, and mourned by her children, Robert, Sheena, Helen, Jack, Peter, Noleen, Isobel, Christine, Martina and Sharon, her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law and wider family circle.

Her funeral will leave her Lisfannon Park home at 11.20 a.m. or Requiem Mass in the Long tower at 12,00 a.m. She will be buried in the City Cemetery.