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Doctor Noel Browne

Dr Noel Browne

Dr Noel Browne is THE great icon of Irish liberals. He was also a Stalinist anti-cleric who blamed all the problems of Irish society on the Catholic Church. His 1986 autobiography "Against The Tide" includes savage portrayals of the many individuals who had managed to offend him in the course of his long life. One curious feature is that the vitriol directed at the Archbishop of Galway, Dr Michael Browne is very similar to that aimed at his (many) left wing enemies.

The following is from "Passionate Outsider", John Horgan's biography of Dr Browne published in 2000. He points out that the PUBLISHED version of "Against the Tide" did not tell the full story:

"No version of the original text is extant but notes of the editing process, contain among other things lists of people who might be expected to sue for libel if Noel Browne's comments about them were published. They included as might be expected Sean McBride, Barry Desmond, May and Justin Keating (two pages about Justin Keating were eventually excised), C.J. Haughey, Garret Fitzgerald and Dan Morrissey ". [page 284]

Dr Noel Browne was the source of John Cooney's allegation that Archbishop McQuaid was a paedophile but it's clear that Browne was an all-purpose hater - most of the names quoted above were left-wing/liberal types.

In February 1987 Dr. Browne told the Sunday Tribune that “Socialism does require regimentation and sacrifice by all the community. Also changing a society that is a sub-continent is not something that can be done overnight and I expect terrible things to happen on the way such as the Stalinist period."

At his death in 1997, he left an unpublished essay which suggested that the Archbishop of Dublin (from 1940 to 1972) John Charles McQuaid was a homosexual paedophile. Two years later this was used by John Cooney in his book "John Charles McQuaid: Ruler of Catholic Ireland" to smear the late Archbishop.

Many left wing intellectuals had adored Stalin - not because they loved the working class but because they hated their own society. In Ireland they specifically hated the Catholic Church. When Communist dictators ruled over a large part of the globe these intellectuals could at least pretend to have a positive programme and to be supporting "progressive" regimes. When Communism fell their nihilism came out into the open and false allegations of child abuse were one way in which it mainfested itself. The career of Dr. Noel Browne represents the transition between the two forms of Nihilism.

Rory Connor
6 October 2011


Correspondence between Dr Noel Browne and Catholic Press Office re Adoption - March 1996

Mother and Child Scheme - Letter 2000

Review (by Emer O'Kelly) of John Horgan's Biography of Dr Noel Browne - Sunday Independent 29 October 2000

Dr Noel Browne and His Enemies

Dr Noel Browne and Stalinism

Dr Noel Browne and the Bishops

Noel Browne, Sean McBride and the Bishops

Obituary: Dr Noel Browne, The Independent (UK), 23 May 1997