In three short years, from 1948 to 1951, Dr. Noel Browne left an indelible mark on the Irish political landscape. His controversial Mother and Child Scheme, which was vetoed by the Catholic bishops at the instigation of the medical profession and was then abandoned by the Cabinet, was a defining moment in Irish church-state relations, and in the political history of the twentieth century.
Browne himself, the son of a policeman, had an extraordinary life in which tragedy and good fortune succeeded each other with bewildering speed. Deeply concerned about the fate of the thousands of TB sufferers in Ireland, he joined the infant Clann na Poblachta party and found himself Minister for Health on his first day in the Dail.
The story of the years that followed is one of power struggles and intrigues involving some of the best-known names in Ireland: John A. Costello, the Taoiseach; John Charles McQuaid, the Archbishop of Dublin; Sean MacBride of Clann na Poblachta; and a huge cast of other characters. Even after leaving office, Browne remained in politics for another thirty years, going into - and out of - four more political parties. He maintained a stormy on-off relationship with the Labour Party, and became an iconic figure on the Irish left - a difficult colleague, but adored by his public. His autobiography, Against the Tide, was a bestseller.
John Horgan's book explores in detail the many gaps in that autobiography and gives us the first rounded picture of a complex, passionate and controversial man.
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John Horgan is Professor of Journalism at Dublin City University.
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Book Description Gill & Macmillan, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110717128091