Irish in Civil War – Mother and Child Controversy – Patrick Hillery

April 12: TODAY in Irish History:

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Cork born Patrick Cleburne

Cork born Patrick Cleburne

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks 

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.

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WATCH: A Short History of Ireland

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1861: American Civil War

American Civil War begins,  a war that would not only pit American against American but also Irish against Irish. An estimated 150,000 Irish fought on the Union side while about 40,00o fought for the confederacy. While the majority fought with the Union, many Irish had a strong antipathy to a northern culture which they perceived as anti-Catholic and Protestant dominated. The most famous Irish regiment was the Fighting 69th, led by the flamboyant Thomas Francis Meagher, often going into battle with an emerald flag and shouting an old Irish war cry “Fag an Bealagh” (Clear the way.)

Over the course of the war, the Irish Brigade would excel in numerous battles, most famously at Marye’s Heights during the Battle of Fredericksburg. During the war, its leaders were General Thomas Francis Meagher, Colonel Patrick Kelly (killed), General Thos. A. Smyth (killed), Colonel Richard Byrnes (killed), and General Robert Nugent.

Brigadier General Thomas Francis Meagher
Brigadier General Thomas Francis Meagher

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On the Confederate side, the Irish also had a major impact. Cork born Patrick Cleburne was the highest ranking Irish General during the Civil war and is recognized as one of the finest officers to serve on either side of that terrible campaign.

Cork born Patrick Cleburne

Patrick Cleburne 1828-1864

Robert E. Lee referred to him as a “a meteor shining from a clouded sky.” He became known as the Stonewall of the West”  Cleburne’s campaigns included the Battles of Shiloh, Richmond and Chickamauga.

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1951: Mother and Child Controversy

Ireland’s Minister for Health, Dr. Noel Browne resigns following confrontation with the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland over what became knows as the “Mother and Child” controversy.

Noel browne mother and child controversy
Dr. Noel Browne

Brown attempted to introduce a very basic welfare plan for mothers and children which the Catholic Church somehow saw as being “in direct opposition to the rights of the family.” The planned scheme would provide free maternity care for all mothers and free healthcare for all children up to the age of sixteen! Many in the medical community also opposed the legislation fearing it would impact income levels.

As government resolve faltered in the light of active church opposition, Browne was forced to resign. To some extent, the controversy was a watershed in the relations between Church and State. The Irish Times newspaper published the correspondence between Browne and the Irish bishops which led the paper to editorialize “The most serious revelation, however, is that the Roman Catholic Church would seem to be the effective Government of this country.”

Although the Catholic Church would remain a potent political force in Ireland for another forty years, its powerful grip was waning.

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2008: Patrick Hillery

Patrick Hillery 1923-2008

Patrick Hillery 1923-2008

Death of former President of Ireland Patrick Hillery. Hillery had a lengthy career in public service, serving either as Fianna Fail TD or Minister for over twenty years before becoming European Commissioner for Social Affairs 1973-1976. He served two terms as President of Ireland between 1976-1990.

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READ: Patrick Hillery – The Ultimate Public Servant

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Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish

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This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)

   

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