Wednesday 7 December 2016

Remembering some of Ireland’s other political heroes

Published 09/02/2016 | 02:30

John Hume receiving the Nobel Peace Prize
John Hume receiving the Nobel Peace Prize

I agree with the writer of the letter 'To decide how to vote, we need to look at recent history' about choosing our next government in the upcoming General Election (Irish Independent, February 4).

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But he concluded that on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, "It's funny how we keep harking back to the heroes of 1916 and the War of Independence, but our history books are so empty of heroes in the political field since the foundation of our country."

It is not entirely empty. A political hero in the 1948-51 period was the Health Minister, Dr Noel Browne, who tried to set up a free mother and children health programme. But the government of the day caved in to pressure from the Catholic Church not to introduce it. The church saw it as State interference in the family. Dr Browne resigned as a result.

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