Baroness May Blood will step away from the House of Lords next month after 19 years of service as the first woman from Northern Ireland to be given a life peerage. A proud working-class Belfast woman, she tells Joanne Sweeney how she walked through the doors that life opened to her in an extraordinary career
When Baroness May Blood speaks, only a fool wouldn’t listen closely, as the likes of Gerry Adams and the late Ian Paisley could attest.
Having turned 80 a few weeks ago, the Shankill woman will step down from the House of Lords after 19 years of representing Northern Ireland’s interests in Westminster. She was in London three days a week, never missing any of the 39 weeks the House sat throughout the years.
“When I came in here first I didn’t think I would survive one year, let alone 19. But I always said that if I could survive, I would stay until I was 80. But I’m also leaving due to the travel,” she explains.
“I thought everyone wouldn’t understand me as they were so well educated and I wasn’t. That’s completely untrue.
“In my time in the Lords, I’ve learned that I have skills that I never knew I processed and I learned that there are things you can do if you just make up your mind to do it.”