Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has called on Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD to use the occasion of the State 1916 Rising commemorations this Easter to name the new National Children’s Hospital in honour of 1916 commandant Dr Kathleen Lynn.
The hospital is located in Teachta Ó Snodaigh’s constituency of Dublin South Central and he said:
“This Easter would be a fitting time for the government to pay tribute to the only woman commandant of the 1916 Rising, who went on to be a TD, by dedicating a site that was a republican stronghold during the Rising in her honour.
“The hospital would also be a fitting memorial to the pioneering medic who herself established a children’s hospital at St Ultan’s, just down the Grand Canal from the St James’ site, and whose work introducing the BCG vaccine to Ireland saved countless lives and is too often overlooked.
“With this remarkable piece of infrastructure, the government should use the chance to remember a great Irish woman who lived an extraordinary life of service to our nation – a suffragette, a visionary doctor, an Irish Citizen Army volunteer.
“As we approach the planned referendum on the role of women in the Constitution towards the end of this year, it would be a welcome move if the government set the role of this woman in stone in the name of the new hospital, which we all hope will realise the vision she fought for of a Republic that cherishes all the children of the nation.
“The campaign to name the new National Children’s Hospital after Dr Kathleen Lynn has enjoyed widespread support from historians, including Dr Martin Mansergh, Dr Maurice Manning, Marie Mullholland, Dr Mary McAuliffe, Diarmuid Ferriter, Liz Gillis, Lorcan Collins, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Professor Mary Morgan, ophthalmologist Dr Tim Horgan, Consultant Paediatrician Dr Freda Gorman, Fintan O’Toole, Martina Devlin and many more.
“Support has also come from all organisations representing the relatives of those who fought in 1916, and from across the political parties in the Dáil, Seanad and city and county councillors. It was wholeheartedly endorsed as a good idea by the All Party Commemorative Committee when under the chair of Fine Gael Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan.
“As well as tabling a legislative amendment in the Dáil on this matter, I have now written to four Ministers for Health on the matter since 2013 – James Reilly, Leo Varadkar, Simon Harris and Stephen Donnelly – and last month wrote to Children’s Health Ireland as the body tasked with running the new hospital, again asking for a decision to be made to name it Ospidéal Náisiúnta Kathleen Lynn do Leanaí (Kathleen Lynn National Children’s Hospital).”