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Mother and Child Scheme Controversy

….the controversy is seen generally in the historiography as the first big clash between the Roman Catholic Church and the Irish State. However, I think it’s actually a lot more than that. First of all it’s not the first clash and it is a lot more substantial than a clash between Church and State……Fundamentally the shape of health services, but also the premise on which the welfare state is based, was settled in the controversy. It was settled against a universal non-means test system and in favour of a neo-liberal model.

Dr Lindsey Earner-Byrne

In a podcast for History Hub’s podcast series, Associate Professor Lindsey Earner-Byrne (UCD) looks at the Mother and Child Scheme controversy which erupted in Ireland in the early 1950s.

Lindsey Earner-Byrne is a lecturer in UCD School of History. She is the author of a number of works, including: Mother and child: Maternity and child welfare in Dublin, 1922–60 (Manchester University Press); Letters of the Catholic poor: Poverty in independent Ireland, 1920-1940 (Cambridge); and, with Diane Urquhart, The Irish Abortion Journey, 1920-2018 (Palgrave). Her research areas include modern Irish social and political history; gender and welfare history of Ireland and Europe; Irish demographic and emigration history.

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Image: Rotunda Hospital, Dublin City by National Library of Ireland on The Commons (The RotundaUploaded by oaktree_b) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons