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Name Children’s Hospital for Kathleen Lynn, medical pioneer and suffragette – O’Reilly and Ó Snodaigh

30 August, 2017 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin TDs Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD and Louise O’Reilly have welcomed the Health Minister Simon Harris’s announcement that the New National Paediatric Hospital to be built on the site of St James’s Hospital in Dublin South Inner City is to be secular.

Party spokesperson for Health Deputy O'Reilly said

“It is essential that this new hospital be secular from day one and welcoming for people of all religions and none.  This hospital has been awaited for many years and we have an opportunity to ensure that it is governed by clinical reasoning and only and not by any religious ethos.”

Local TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh welcomed the publication of the new National Paediatric Hospital’s underpinning legislation which he had called for last four years. He said though he was disappointed that the Minister missed an opportunity to announce a name for the new National Paediatric Hospital.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh has campaigned to have the hospital named after pioneering medic Kathleen Lynn, whose first children’s hospital in Ireland St Ultan’s was closed down in the 1930s.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh has previously written to the Minister and his two predecessors suggesting the name of Kathleen Lynn as being wholly appropriate. He also had suggested the idea to Minister Heather Humphreys when she was in charge of the 1916 Centenary events last year as being an appropriate time to bestow the honour on the only woman who was a commandant during the 1916 Rising.

In his letter to Minister Harris, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“I believe that naming it the Kathleen Lynn Children’s Hospital would be recognition for her important role in delivering medical care for the women and children of Dublin, the poor in particular, in her pioneering St Ultan’s Hospital which was only down the canal from St James Hospital at Charlemont Street.

“I believe also that it would be also appropriate in the forthcoming commemorative period that her role as a suffragette, a volunteer in the Irish Citizen Army during the 1916 Rising would also be marked. This would be appropriate in the St James’ Hospital site, given that it was the site of one of the Republican strongholds during the 1916 Rising, the South Dublin Union.

“Kathleen was a Mayo woman who challenged many of the norms in society at the time in relation to women; being a suffragette, a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, the first resident doctor in the Eye and Ear Hospital, instrumental in the roll-out of the BCG vaccine, a soup kitchen worker during Lock Out 1913, a Citizen Army Volunteer and the Officer Commanding of the City Hall garrison at the end of Easter Week 1916, a prisoner of war, a TD and a councillor, and founder of St Ultan’s Hospital where she worked until she was over 80.” 

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