What Would Kathleen Say?

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Kathleen Lynn: Insider on the Outside is a creative investigation into the life and work of Kathleen Lynn by thirteen contemporary Irish artists. The exhibition is curated by Catherine Marshall and spreads across five publicly-funded visual-arts spaces in Mayo from 26 March - 31st April.

Nine posters made by Deirdre O'Mahony for Kathleen Lynn: Insider on the Outside are exhibited in Ballina Arts Centre open Mon. – Sat. 10.00 - 6.00pm. There are also single posters in Castlebar and in Ballinglen Arts Centre.

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What would Kathleen Lynn say to the Health Service Executive and the Department of Health today? The Easter rising proclamation promised equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens and this particular commemorative event an opportunity to review the present state of the Irish health service.

Deirdre O'Mahony channeled Kathleen Lynn's voice through Facebook and Twitter asking What Would Kathleen Say to the present state of affairs. Her commentary provides the content for large texts and image poster prints; a lens through which to reflect on issues such as the social and economic effects of the loss of rural GP services, the implication for ageing rural populations and the violence suffered by women and children through the actions or inactions of the state healthcare system.

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Kathleen Lynn grew up in Mayo in rural Ireland. She was a political activist, suffragette and pioneering doctor who established the first Children’s Hospital in Ireland. She was also the only female commander during the Easter Rising. As celebrations are underway for the centenary of this important event that promised equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, there is an opportunity to look back at politics of people like Kathleen Lynn, who played a key role in founding the Irish State. What would Kathleen say to cuts to rural GP services one hundred years after 1916? She was a passionate believer in equality for all and a pioneering doctor who established the first free Children’s Hospital in Ireland.


At public meetings in County Clare, County Galway and Kathleen Lynn’s own home county of Mayo, rural GPs have been speaking of their fears for the future of Primary Healthcare services in rural Ireland and the near impossibility of finding replacement locums to fill vacancies left by retiring GPs. The cuts bring the reality of life without a rural GP service into sharp focus. Communities are concerned and angry at the precarious future given a large aging population. Powerful stories were told of communities on their knees as shops close, post offices are shut down, creameries taken over, churches have no priests and now no doctors? #nodoctornovillage became a banner for a campaign by a rural GPs. Like Kathleen Lynn, Dr. Michael Harty, GP stood as a candidate for County Clare. He won, backed by an extraordinary mandate from a broad cross section of constituents.

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Invited to make an artwork to celebrate Kathleen Lynn’s role in the 1916 rising, Deirdre O'Mahony revived Kathleen Lynn's voice through Twitter and Facebook page until the general election. The final artwork, 20 A0 Posters featuring texts drawn from the tweets and posts, combined with photographs of Kathleen Lynn as a series of 20 A0 digital, inkjet posters designed by Cian Brennan

@KathleenSay, Kathleen Lynn’s Facebook Page


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Dromoher, Kilnaboy, Co. Clare, Ireland