Ruane supports naming of children’s hospital after Killala born doctor

Kathleen Lynn: a true visionary and unsung hero

Sinn Féin councillor Thérèse Ruane has pledged her support to the campaign to name the new national children's hospital in Dublin in honour of Killala born doctor, feminist, and revolutionary Kathleen Lynn.

“Founder of St Ultan's Hospital, she transformed healthcare services to children and the poor in tenement Dublin in the early part of this century, and it would be right and fitting that the hospital be named The Kathleen Lynn National Children’s Hospital,” said Cllr Ruane.

“Kathleen Lynn was a phenomenal, exceptional woman, a true visionary, an unsung hero who has not been given the place in history she deserves,” she added. “A doctor, a social activist, a suffragist, a republican, she graduated from Royal University of Ireland in 1899, one of the first women ever to do so. She became active in the women's suffrage movement and republicanism. She supported the workers during the 1913 lock out and worked with Countess Markievicz in the soup kitchens in Liberty Hall. Connolly appointed her Chief Medical Officer to the Irish Citizen Army. She is one of the true heroes of the 1916 rising, for which she was imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol. Kathleen was elected a Sinn Fein TD between 1921 and 1926 but, opposed to the Treaty of 1921, she did not take her seat.

“However, Kathleen is best known for her pioneering work as a doctor. She nursed the ill during the deadly influenza epidemic of 1918; and she founded the first paediatric hospital in Ireland, St Ultan's, to treat children in poverty stricken tenement Dublin. This was the first hospital of its kind, staffed entirely by women, and cared for the children of the tenements who suffered shockingly high mortality rates, and treated infectious diseases. She helped to introduce BCG vaccinations to Ireland playing a key role in the eradication of TB.”

According to Cllr Ruane despite strong opposition from the Catholic Church and the State, Kathleen Lynn, and her life-long partner Madeleine Ffrench-Mullen, with their team managed to keep the hospital open, providing care for the most vulnerable children, discarded by the State. Kathleen died in 1955 but right to the end she dreamed of and worked for the establishment of a National Children's Hospital.

“It is right and fitting to name the new hospital The Kathleen Lynn National Children's Hospital,” said Cllr Ruane who has submitted a motion to be considered at the next Castlebar Town Council meeting to pledge support for this campaign.

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