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Time to finally honour the work of Dr Kathleen Lynn

Letters to the Editor


Olympic champion Kellie Harrington is to receive the Freedom of the City of Dublin. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Olympic champion Kellie Harrington is to receive the Freedom of the City of Dublin. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Olympic champion Kellie Harrington is to receive the Freedom of the City of Dublin. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The nomination of three women for Freedom of the City awards – Kellie Harrington, Dr Ailbhe Smyth and Professor Mary Aiken – by the Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland is very welcome. However, it should be seen as just a first step in correcting the gender discrepancy associated with recipients of this honour.

Perhaps Dublin City Council might consider introducing a retrospective nomination process whereby those women who served Ireland and her citizens, acting on selfless motives, might be considered for the Freedom of the City award.

We in this country have been very fortunate with the calibre of citizens who, on the premise of volunteer participation, gave sterling service to assist the poor, the sick and the marginalised and are worthy of recognition by the State. Dr Kathleen Lynn is one who would surely fall into this category.

Dr Lynn was chief medical officer of the Irish Citizens’ Army during the 1916 Rising and was the first female doctor to work at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital when she was appointed in 1910. Subsequently, Dr Lynn went on to establish St Ultan’s Children’s Hospital.

Dr Lynn, a distinguished medical graduate, feminist, suffragette, trade unionist, politician and comforter of the poor, set high standards of care for the less well-off and destitute at a time when the nascent Irish Free State could not cope.

With her life-long partner Madeleine ffrench-Mullen, she worked in the soup kitchens in Liberty Hall during the 1913 Lock-out. She was a major contributor to the shaping of modern Ireland.

Tom Cooper

Templeogue, Dublin

Britain should look across the water for inspiration

I appreciate Chris Fitzpatrick’s observations (‘When it comes to pop and pomp, our neighbours excel’, Letters, June 6). However, when it comes to democracy and an elected head of state, we in Britain have to hand it to our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland.

Dominic Shelmerdine

London, England

When the Prince of Wales met the King of the Claddagh

In 1905, on a visit to the west of Ireland, the Prince of Wales and future King George V stayed in the home of the prince’s friend, Lord Ardilaun, at Ashford Castle in Cong.

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The gentry of Galway city honoured him with a lunch, during which one local wit remarked: “Your Highness, we have our own king here in Galway. He is called the King of the Claddagh, and it is said he bears a striking resemblance to your own family.”

The prince replied: “We must visit him!”

Word was sent to the Claddagh that the Prince of Wales was on his way to visit. When the prince’s horse-drawn cabriolet pulled up on the street, the King of the Claddagh was standing there.

Approaching him, the prince mused, “Indeed, there is some resemblance there.”

Looking directly at the king, he asked: “Perchance my good man, was your mother ever a maid at Buckingham Palace?”

To which the response was: ‘No, but me father was in the Irish Guards!”

Declan Foley

Melbourne, Australia

Governments have overseen a miracle recovery since 2010

In his recent letter, John Cuffe tells us “we are now in the midst of total collapse” (‘From airport chaos to the cost of living, the people deserve better – time for an election’, Letters, June 4). He references the cost of living, Dublin Airport, housing, health and the Northern Ireland Protocol as the problems causing the total collapse. The problem with that diagnosis is that, while these difficulties cause problems, they do not represent total collapse.

We know what total collapse is, having suffered such in 2010 when government expenditure was over €100 billion and Government income was just over €50bn. We were broke then and we had to be bailed out. Since then, we have recovered. We do have a debt problem and a housing problem, both of which are a consequence of the collapse in 2010.

But at the moment, the Government books are reasonably balanced and our health service so far has dealt with the Covid pandemic better than most of the EU. Let’s hope the airport problem is a once-off and is an immediate problem that can hardly be blamed on Government.

The problems with the protocol were and still are being caused by the decisions of the Brexiteers.

Unemployment reached over 15pc after the collapse in 2010 but is, despite the pandemic, much lower now. Governments which served this country since 2010 were not, as described by Mr Cuffe, “busted flushes”. In fact, they presided over a miracle recovery.

Anthony Leavy

Sutton, Dublin

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