GARDEN DEDICATED TO DR. NOEL BROWN

WATERFORD CITY

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GARDEN DEDICATED TO DR. NOEL BROWN

Noël Browne was born in Waterford and grew up in Derry (Bogside), Athlone and Ballinrobe.

Noël Christopher Browne (20 December 1915 – 21 May 1997) was an Irish politician and doctor. He holds the distinction of being one of only seven TDs to be appointed Minister at the start of their first term in the Dáil. His controversial Mother and Child Scheme in effect brought down the First Inter-Party Government of John A. Costello in 1951.

Browne was a well-known but at times highly controversial public representative, and managed to be a TD for five different political parties (two of which he co-founded). These were Clann na Poblachta (resigned), Fianna Fáil (expelled), National Progressive Democrats (co-founder), Labour Party (resigned) and the Socialist Labour Party (co-founder).

His father worked as an inspector for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and, partly as a result of this work, all of the Browne family became infected with tuberculosis. Both parents died of the disease during the 1920s, and several of Browne's siblings also succumbed. In 1929 he was admitted free of charge to St. Anthony's, a preparatory school in Eastbourne, England. He then won a scholarship to Beaumont College, the Jesuit public school near Old Windsor, Berkshire, where he befriended Neville Chance, a wealthy boy from Dublin. Neville's father, the eminent surgeon Arthur Chance (son of surgeon, Sir Arthur Chance), subsequently paid Browne's way through medical school at Trinity College, Dublin.

In 1940, while still a student, Browne suffered a serious relapse of tuberculosis. His treatment at a sanatorium in Midhurst, Sussex was paid for by the Chance family. He recovered, passed his medical exams in 1942, and started his career as a medical intern at Dr Steevens' Hospital in Dublin. He subsequently worked in numerous sanatoria throughout Ireland and England, witnessing the ravages of the disease. He soon concluded that politics was the only way in which he could make an attack on the scourge of tuberculosis. Browne joined the new Irish republican party Clann na Poblachta and was elected to Dáil Éireann for the Dublin South-East constituency at the 1948 general election. To the surprise of many, party leader Seán MacBride chose Browne to be one of the party's two ministers in the new government. Browne became one of the few TDs appointed a minister on their first day in Dáil Éireann, when he was appointed Minister for Health.

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