Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The World War II Museum in the United States and a US Congressman will deliver a special honour to a Mayo woman whose actions altered the course of World War II.

Maureen Sweeney was 21 years old when she took weather readings at Blacksod weather station in June 1944. Her actions influenced the D-Day landings and changed the path of the war. Her data threw General Dwight D Eisenhower’s meticulously planned invasion strategy into chaos. It forced him to mediate between opposing US and UK weather advisors and generals, and ultimately left him alone to make one of the most difficult decisions in the entire war. Maureen’s readings were the first to point out an impending storm which led to the postponement of the invasion.  Her readings were used to pinpoint a short window of opportunity that Eisenhower needed to launch, thereby altering the course of the war.

When John J Kelly, who led the design and production of the modern landing craft, which has been used in military and humanitarian roles worldwide, heard the story of Maureen Sweeney, he was fascinated.

John approached the World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, of which he was a director, and requested official recognition of Maureen and the Sweeney Family by the museum. The World War II museum has sent a letter to Maureen that John J Kelly will read during the tribute on June 19. John will also read a personal note to Maureen from US Congressman Jack Bergman (Michigan First District) who is the highest-ranking veteran to ever serve in Congress. A distinguished award, rarely given, and obtained by Congressman Bergman will be read and presented to Maureen and the Sweeney family by John.

Now aged 98, Maureen beat Covid-19 last year, and the special tribute will be delivered to her in Erris this Saturday. The event will be live-streamed on Vimeo (www.vimeo.com/event/1040405) at 5pm on Saturday.

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