Kathleen Lynn

Kathleen Lynn

Dr. Kathleen Lynn (1874-1955) was born in Mullafarry, Killala, where her father was the local rector, and throughout her life combined her medical work with campaigning for the feminist and nationalist movements of the day.   Active in the Votes for Women Campaign, she acted as medical attendant to the suffragettes during their militant hunger strike campaign in 1912.   A member of the Irish Citizen Army she was Chief Medical Officer and a Captain during the 1916 Easter Rising, with responsibility for medical planning and supplies to the Citizen Army’s stations during the fighting.   She later served as Surgeon-General to Sinn Fein and was elected to its Executive (of 24 persons) at the 1917 convention.  In the same year, she served as Vice-President of the Irish Women Workers’ Union.   This remarkable woman always considered medicine as an important tool for social improvement.   She was only too aware of the preventable medical problems faced by those living in Dublin’s slums.   Along with Madeline Ffrench Mullan, she founded St. Ultan’s Hospital for Infants in Dublin in 1919 and it became the first hospital to introduce the BCG vaccine for the prevention and control of tuberculosis in 1936.

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