Sinn Féin councillor Thérèse Ruane has commended Ballina Town Council for its recent decision to erect a monument in memory of Dr Kathleen Lynn, at her birthplace in Mullaghfarry, Killala.
Cllr Ruane stated: “I would like to commend the members of Ballina Town Council for their unanimous support for the Mayor’s proposal. Kathleen Lynn was a phenomenal, exceptional, woman, a true visionary, an unsung hero who has not been given the place in history she deserves. 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. She was appointed 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 Lynn was elected a Sinn Fein TD between 1921 and 1926 but, opposed to the Treaty of 1921, she did not take her seat.
“She 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.
“Despite strong opposition from the Catholic Church and the State, Kathleen Lynn, and her life-long partner, Madelaine ffrench-Mullen, with their team, managed to keep the hospital open, providing care for the most vulnerable children, discarded by the State. Kathleen Lynn died in 1955 but right to the end she dreamed of and worked for the establishment of a National Children’s Hospital. I hope that the campaign to have the new hospital named The Kathleen Lynn National Children’s Hospital will be successful and I will continue to work to make it a reality.
“It is really welcome that Dr Kathleen Lynn will be honoured in Mullaghfarry, the place of her birth. It is time that we the people of Mayo do our part to give Kathleen Lynn, the place in history she rightfully deserves.”