Thousands oppose nuns owning new hospital

Friday, 21 Apr, 2017

Yesterday's announcement that the Sisters of Charity will have ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital in south Dublin has caused widespread shock and disgust.

The deal also has a clause stating that the "reserved powers" can only be amended with the unanimous written approval of the directors of the new National Maternity Hospital and with the approval of the Minister for Health.

"The new National Maternity Hospital to be built on the St Vincent's Healthcare campus will be dedicated exclusively to providing maternity care for women and infants".

The Sisters of Charity own the area at St Vincent's Hospital, where the new maternity hospital is set to be built.

"It's rare we see a petition go viral so rapidly, and it shows that people are deeply troubled by the State's utter disregard for the many victims of abuse which took place in institutions run by orders such as the Sisters of Charity".

However, Mr Kelleher said the National Maternity Hospital project must not be delayed any further.

The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services Ireland has also called for transparency "and if necessary relocation of the National Maternity Hospital".

"The new company will have clinical and operational independence in the provision of maternity, gynaecology and neonatal services, without religious, ethnic or other distinction, as well as financial and budgetary independence'".

"I really thought that we were beyond the point when the State builds a hospital and yet doesn't own it".

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"I have heard people talk about nuns and redress".

The minister said the Sisters of Charity were giving very valuable land to the state at no cost.

Update 6pm: The Social Protection Minister says he thinks it's important that the issue of ownership of the new national maternity hospital is clarified.

It had received "an unprecedented number of communications regarding the issue since it came into the public realm earlier this week" and called on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, "to ensure the interests of women and babies are protected or rethink the entire move".

"This new hospital must be developed in line with best worldwide practice for maternity hospitals and be co-located with an adult acute hospital in order to ensure that women and infants have access to a full range of medical specialties".

"Do any of us really believe that, if and when the 8th amendment of our constitution is repealed, any new legislation for abortion will be implemented fully in a hospital wholly owned by the Catholic Church?"

"Simon Harris has wildly missed the point", she said.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, former Labour TD Kathleen Lynch said that she can not imagine maternity health being performed in an institution owned by a religious order.