Social Services

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Anderson, Lily

Anderson, Lily (1922–82), social campaigner and communist, joined the Communist Party in 1942 and served for many years on its subcommittees for social services, education, and women. She was best known as a campaigner for better nursery facilities in Belfast during the 1960s. Her…

Barrett, Rosa (Mary)

Barrett, Rosa (Mary) (1854–1936) philanthropist, child-care worker, and suffragist, was born 15 January 1854 in Royston, Hertfordshire, England, daughter of the Rev. W. G. Barrett and Martha Barrett (née Fletcher). From the 1860s she was resident with her family in Dublin. Her…

Bates, Daisy May

Bates, Daisy May (1859–1951), welfare worker for Aborigines, anthropologist, and eccentric, was born 21 October 1859 in Roscrea, Co. Tipperay, third among six children of James Dwyer , catholic tradesman and blacksmith, and Bridget Dwyer (née Hunt). Her twin brother, Francis, died…

Bermingham, William (‘Willie’) Patrick

Bermingham, William (‘Willie’) Patrick (1942–90), founder of ALONE, was born 29 March 1942 in Inchicore, Dublin, third among seven children of William Bermingham, bellman on a fuel cart, and Mary Bermingham (née Dalgarno). He was educated at St Michael's School, Inchicore, and…

Bolton, Mary

Bolton, Mary (1920–96), counsellor, was born 16 September 1920 in Co. Donegal. An orphan, she was adopted by a farming couple in Co. Tyrone. As a young woman she settled in London, where she became an alcoholic. Recovering from her addiction as a result of treatment under Dr Max…

Cosgrave, Mary Josephine

Cosgrave, Mary Josephine (c.1877–1941), social worker and local politician, was born in Naas, Co. Kildare, the daughter of James William Daly and Jane Daly. Educated at St Mary's Convent in Naas, she went on to study at St Andrews University, from where she graduated LLA…

Crofton, Sir John Wenman

Crofton, Sir John Wenman (1912–2009), physician, scientist and public health campaigner, was born on 27 March 1912 at the family home, 55 Merrion Square South, Dublin, the only son (between two sisters) of William Mervyn Crofton, physician and bacteriologist, and his wife Mary…

Cusack, Margaret Anna (‘The nun of Kenmare’)

Cusack, Margaret Anna (‘The nun of Kenmare’) (1829–99), nun and author, was born 6 May 1829 at Coolock, Co. Dublin, the elder of two children of Dr Samuel Cusack and his wife, Sarah (née Stoney). Early life and conversion to catholicism She was educated privately, learning informally…

Elmes, Mary

Elmes, Mary (1908–2002), humanitarian worker 'righteous among the nations', was born Marie Elizabeth Jean Elmes on 5 May 1908, at Culgreine, 120 Blackrock Road, Ballintemple, Cork, the home of her parents, Edward Thomas Elmes, a pharmacist, and his wife Elizabeth Octavia (née Waters…

Flanagan, Edward Joseph

Flanagan, Edward Joseph (1886–1948), catholic priest and founder of Boys Town, was born 13 July 1886 at Ballymoe, Co. Roscommon, son of John Flanagan, herdsman, and Nora Flanagan (née Larkin). One of eleven children, he was first educated at a local school, Drimatample, and…

Gibb (Gibson), Rosemary Elizabeth Jane (‘Rosy’)

Gibb (Gibson), Rosemary Elizabeth Jane (‘Rosy’) (1942–97), social worker, clown, and magician, was born 8 November 1942 in Dublin, the only child of Jack Gibson, a well-known surgeon and hypnotist, and Elizabeth Maude Gibson (née James). She passed her early childhood in Guernsey,…

Harnett, Philip

Harnett, Philip (1943–96), Jesuit priest, was born 6 January 1943 in Dublin, the third child of Patrick Harnett and Ursula Treacy. He had two brothers, John and Patrick, and three sisters, Anne, Catherine, and Mary. Following an education at Pembroke School, Ballsbridge, and…

Kinlen, Dermot Patrick

Kinlen, Dermot Patrick (1930–2007), barrister, judge and penal reformer, was born 24 April 1930 in Dublin, the eldest of two sons and one daughter of Louis P. Kinlen, of Darwin Hall, 200 Rathfarnham Road, Dublin, a building contractor, and his wife Aileen (née O'Donnell). Educated…

Longfield, Mountifort

Longfield, Mountifort (1802–84), economist and lawyer, was second son of the Rev. Mountifort Longfield (d. 1850), JP and vicar of Desert Serges, Co. Cork, of the Anglo-Irish Longfield family of Longueville, near Mallow, Co. Cork, and his…

Martindale, Hilda

Martindale, Hilda (1875–1952), civil servant and social reformer, was born 12 March 1875 at Leytonstone, London, the daughter of William Martindale (who died some months before she was born) and his wife, Louisa, née Spicer (1839–1914). Mrs Martindale moved her family – Hilda, her…

McAuley (McGauley), Catherine Elizabeth

McAuley (McGauley), Catherine Elizabeth (1778–1841), educator, social worker, and religious foundress, was born 29 September 1778 at Stormanstown House, Drumcondra, Dublin, one of three children (two girls and a boy) of James McGauley and his wife Elinor (née Conway). McGauley, by…

McCaffrey, Mary Ellen

McCaffrey, Mary Ellen (Sister Mary Xavier ) (1854–1923), Sister of Mercy and social worker, was born in Monaghan, daughter of Arthur McCaffrey and Catherine McCaffrey, who also had another daughter and two sons. She emigrated to the USA, where she entered St Catherine's convent of…

McClean, (John) Raymond

McClean, (John) Raymond (1933–2011), medical doctor, civil-rights activist and humanitarian, was born on 18 January 1933 in Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, third in a family of three sons and one daughter of Charles McClean and his wife Kathleen (née King). Charles McClean, a trophy-…

O'Brien, Charlotte Grace

O'Brien, Charlotte Grace (1845–1909), social reformer and writer, was born 23 November 1845 at Cahirmoyle, Co. Limerick, younger daughter of the Young Ireland leader, William Smith O’Brien (qv), and his wife Lucy Caroline, daughter of…

O'Carroll, Michael William ffrench-

O'Carroll, Michael William ffrench- (1919–2007), politician, doctor, and social campaigner, was born 15 September 1919 at 89 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, the eldest of two sons and a daughter of Arthur Stephens ffrench-O'Carroll (1896–1952), medical doctor then in military service,…

O'Connor, Mary

O'Connor, Mary (Sister Mary Agnes ) (1815–59), Sister of Mercy, foundress, and social worker, was born 6 January 1815 in Kilkenny city, youngest among ten children of Patrick O'Connor and Mary O'Connor. Like other charitable women of her time she visited the sick poor and made…

O'Connor, Robert

O'Connor, Robert (1916–97), agricultural economist and public servant, was born 17 April 1916 in Frenchpark, Co. Roscommon. Having attended the local national school, he studied agricultural science at Mountbellew, at Albert College in Dublin, and finally in…

Place, Valerie

Place, Valerie (1969–93), nurse and overseas aid worker, was born 24 March 1969 at 20 St Brendan's Crescent, Walkinstown, Dublin, one of four daughters and three sons of Patrick Place, coachbuilder, of that address, and Margaret Place (née Byrne). Educated at St Paul's secondary…

Redlich, (Mary) Patricia

Redlich, (Mary) Patricia (1940–2011), journalist and psychologist, was born on 1 December 1940 at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin, one of four daughters and a son born to Ben Cribbon, a clerk, and his wife Mary (née Crean). Growing up in the northside Dublin…

Russell (née Coyne), Angela Gertrude

Russell (née Coyne), Angela Gertrude (1893–1991), physician and social reformer, was born 15 November 1893 in Tralee, Co. Kerry, the fourth daughter and seventh child among nine children of James Aloysius Coyne, an inspector of national schools, and Kathleen Mary Coyne (née Pitt…