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Maureen Sweeney

Irish woman whose weather forecast changed the timing of D-Day has died aged 100

Maureen Sweeney provided a crucial weather forecast on 3 June 1944 that delayed the D-Day landings.

MAUREEN SWEENEY, THE Irish woman whose weather report changed the timing the D-Day landings, died yesterday aged 100.

Her death was confirmed by her grandson yesterday, who paid tribute to her historic contribution to the war in his post to X, formerly Twitter.

Maureen had been living in a nursing home in Co Mayo over the last number of years, previously residing in Listowel, Co. Kerry.

sweeney Maureen Sweeney receiving an award from the United States in Mayo in 2021. Eoin O'Hagan Eoin O'Hagan

At 21 years old, Maureen’s forecast was the first to be published that informed the public of an incoming storm off the Atlantic, from Blacksod Lighthouse on 3 June 1944.

The lighthouse and surrounding station played a key role during World War II by supplying Britain and the United States with weather reports. 

Her report postponed the Allied Forces’ plans to storm France’s coast until 6 June 1944.

For this achievement, in 2021, the US House of Representatives honoured Maureen in the Tí Aire nursing home in Belmullet, Co Mayo through giving her a special recognition, which has been awarded by the institution since 1789.

2021-06-19 15.48.51 Maureen and US Representative Jack Bergman in Tí Aire in 2021. Eoin O'Hagan Eoin O'Hagan

It entitled Maureen to receive a proclamation noting her accomplishments and was placed in the US Library of Congress.

Last year, Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly paid tribute to Maureen. Daly said Maureen’s report was “so instrumental in that historic decision which turned the tide of the Second World War”.

On her achievement, Maureen said in 2014: “[US President] Eisenhower was making up his mind about whether to enter France or not. He was very divided but when he saw the report from Blacksod Point it confirmed he made the right decision.

“That report was sent from here on the 3rd June and the following morning there was a query at around 11 o’clock. And then was a second query.

“A lady with a distinct English accent requested me to ‘Please Check. Please Repeat!’ We began to look at the figures again. We checked and rechecked and the figures were the same both times so we were happy enough then.”

She added that “they (The Allied Forces) relied on our weather forecast. It’s something you’ll remember for a lifetime.”

Maureen will be missed by her family, including daughters in law Rita and Doreen, son in law Gerhard, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and the staff of Tí Aire.

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