Ina Mc Cormack, Loughill, Coolarty , Co Longford passed away on Christmas day 2016. The date was entirely appropriate because Ina was like Santa Claus distributing goods and goodness to a vast array of people, near and far but - on every day of the year.
Born in 1931 in Lisnanagh, Ina first attended school in Corboy at the tender age of 3, before finishing her national school education in Edgeworthstown. However , a weak heart prevented her completing her secondary school. But because times were tough, a determined Ina headed to London where she found work as a Nanny. Any extra money was sent home to help her widowed mother. It was at this early age that Ina started helping people in need.
When her work in London ended, Ina moved on to Birmingham where she soon was a valued staff member in a chemist shop. Ina married her husband Joe while in Birmingham. They married in the morning and Ina returned at work in the afternoon. Different times, for sure.
Having saved diligently, a wool shop was purchased. With her strong work ethic and pleasant personality, the wool shop proved to be a huge success and life was busy.
However, in 1983 the family moved back to Ballymahon to care for her uncle Willie. Within a year or so, the ever industrious Ina opened a second hand shop in Ballymahon.
Her next move brought her closer to her original roots when Ina bought Brady's shop in Edgeworthstown. In name it was a newsagents and sweet shop but to her growing customer base, it became so much more. It was a social centre before the term was coined. It was open all hours with a warm welcome for young and old. Ina would never see anyone stuck and nothing was too much bother.
No one has the perfect life and Ina too too, had her share of sadness and huge challenges. The tragic death of her son in England in a hit and run accident just before his 24th birthday was particularly tough. A daylight robbery in the shop didn't help. Seeing the robbers also make off with her many charity boxes on the counter, she bravely pleaded that they leave them back – they flung them at her. She was always proud of the fact that she saved her charity money.
In 2006, Ina finally “ retired” and sold her shop in Edgeworthstown. But the big hearted Ina missed the company and being able to help a myriad of different charitable causes.
So four years later, the ever determined Ina returned from retirement and opened Ina's Charity Shop on the Granard Road, Edgeworthstown.
Though only opened for the second half of the week, it soon became social hub and magnet for both locals and passers by. With Ina sitting beside her turf stove, there was a constant flow of steaming mugs of tea with biscuits for all comers. Some called and purchased an item , many others popped in for a chat and a bit of good humoured banter. You always left feeling better .
Ina was truly a remarkable human being. She cared greatly about the most vulnerable in society, regardless of age, creed or nationally. Deeply spiritual, her favourite book was the Bible. But she did so much more than read it, she lived its good news in deed and action. Despite ailing health, Ina soldiered on regardless, always saying that there was so much more to be done for the needy.
Complaining wasn't part of Ina's set up. Having spent some time on a hospital trolley, she quipped “ sure, amn't I grand, God help the poor nurses”. An other time, Ina was found , haven fallen outdoors on a cold Christmas Eve, her response was “ I'm grand, sure I have a good heavy coat on me, just help me get up, please.”
An avid cards player, Ina was a regular in Cullyfad,Granard, Ballinalee, Ballyleague and Kenagh. If there was any event for charity, Ina would be first to but some tickets. Even when in failing health, Ina attended as many Car Boots Sales as humanly possible. She donated enough to send two children to Lourdes recently “ because I may not be around to send one next year.” When GOAL in Longford was the greatest contributor per capita in Ireland, Ina was Longford's greatest contributor. About three years ago Ina was chosen to be honoured by President Michael D Higgins for her overseas charity work, she very reluctantly accepted. Not for Ina, the limelight. Afterwards, she mentioned that he was a lovely, little, kind man with a beautiful dog and very helpful staff.
Animals were also dear to this big hearted lady. Apart from organising fund raisers for the Guide Dogs for the Blind, Ina also adopted any and every stray. While in various hospitals she always worried about her six dogs and seven cats, which she rescued . Her pride and joy, was her old billy goat which she managed to save and get walking again.
Ina Mc Cormack was truly a remarkable lady who touched all, fortunate enough to have known her. To know Ina was to be her friend. People were her life. Making life better for other people was Ina's life achievement .
Thousands of vulnerable in the developing world have benefited from Ina's incredible generosity. So too have a great amount of people closer to home but known only to themselves and Ina.
At her packed funeral service in her beloved Corboy Presbyterian church, on New Year's eve the Minister referred to Ina as a “ precious gem”.
Ina is buried with her son, John in England.
Sincere sympathy to Ina's sons Neil,Richard, relatives and a wide circle of great, loyal friends.
May Ina Mc Cormack rest in peace, perfect peace.