27 Mary Teresa Cooney

Church Lane, Ballinrobe. A brass marker marks the location of the house in which they lived.
Averil Staunton

Mary Teresa Cooney, mother of the politician Dr. Noel Browne, a Minister for Health, was born in Hollymount on 28 November 1883 to Patrick Cooney, a police pensioner and his wife Kate Moran.


She married Joseph Browne, a policeman and a native of Athenry, in Roundfort church on 8th September 1905. The future politician Dr Noel Browne and Minister for Health was born in Bath Street, Waterford on 20 December 1915.

Disbanding of the R.I.C

His father died in 1923 shortly after the disbanding of the R.I.C. leaving Mary Teresa with seven children, just £100 and no widow’s pension.

Living at Church Lane, Ballinrobe

The family moved to Church Lane in Ballinrobe where they lived in increasing poverty as the money dwindled away. Some went to school in Ballinrobe.

Five of her children died from TB

Five of her children died of TB and one of meningitis. She contracted the disease herself and died in London in 1927. These tragic circumstances were later to be a driving force in Dr. Noel Browne’s campaign to  eradicate of TB.

Circumstances becoming Dire

Their circumstances in Church Lane were dire and when his Mother fell ill the children took over running the household, including drawing water from the Robe River.


Joey, the eldest, had a back problem, but got a job as a messenger boy in a local grocery shop. Apart from the pittance he was paid, the free bag of bacon bits, which had fallen beneath the bacon-slicing machine, helped them to survive…


Dr Noel Brown: http://www.historicalballinrobe.com/page_id__64.aspx

Sanatorium at Creagh Ballinrobe: http://www.historicalballinrobe.com/page/st_treasas_tb_sanatoriun_ballinrobe_now_creagh_house

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