Linda Kearns MacWhinney

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Linda MacWhinney (née Kearns; 1 July 1888 – 5 June 1951) was an Irish nurse and Fianna Fáil politician.

Two days after the insurgents seized the Dublin GPO during the Easter Rising in April 1916, Kearns, a nurse, took over an empty building on North Great George's Street. She hung a Red Cross flag above the door and welcomed casualties of the fighting, from both sides of the conflict. However, as she had treated republican volunteers during the uprising, the British Army ordered Kearns to close her unofficial hospital.[1] She did so, with great reluctance.

Born in Cloonagh, Dromard, County Sligo, she was one of eight children born to Thomas and Catherine (née Clarke) Kearns. From 1907, she studied and trained to be a nurse.[2] She had not been interested in nationalism or republicanism prior to the Easter Rising and had intended to serve as a nurse in France during the Great War until a chance meeting with Thomas MacDonagh changed her mind and radicalised her.[3]

She realised she had skills that could be useful in times of war. After the Rising she went into private nursing.[2] She was the nurse to the O'Connor Morris family in Tullamore and traveled extensively with them.[4] In October 1921, she famously escaped from Mountjoy Jail with Eithne Coyle.[1]

In 1924-25, she conducted a successful fundraising tour of Australia on behalf of republican causes.[5]

She was elected to Seanad Éireann on the Industrial and Commercial Panel in April 1938. She was defeated at the Seanad election of August 1938.[6]

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  1. ^ a b Ó Fallúin, Donal. "The Great Escape - Nurse Linda Kearns". Come Here to Me!. Retrieved 28 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b McCoole, Sinéad (15 October 2003). No ordinary women: Irish female activists in the revolutionary years, 1900-23. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-299-19500-7. 
  3. ^ O'Riordan, Tomás. "Countess Constance Markievicz". Multitext Project in Irish History. University College Cork, Ireland. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  4. ^ Ó Duigneáin, Proinnsíos (2002). Linda Kearns: a revolutionary Irish woman. Drumlin Publications. ISBN 978-1-873437-26-1. 
  5. ^ A. Whitaker, "Linda Kearns and Kathleen Barry Irish Republican fundraising tour, 1924-25" Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society 37 (2) (2016), pp. 208-11.
  6. ^ "Linda Kearns MacWhinney". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 22 March 2009. 

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