Religious Nuns To Be Given 'Sole Ownership' Of New National Maternity Hospital

Nuns will be unable to stop lawful abortions at National Maternity Hospital says consultant

The land on which the hospital will be built is owned by The Sisters of Charity.

He said he believes Holles Street were backed into a corner by the minister who said this is the deal, you can have the hospital but the nuns will own it, and the company that runs it. "The co-location of this hospital with an adult tertiary hospital will revolutionise healthcare in Ireland for women and infants and we continue to work with SVHG to make a dedicated state of the art maternity hospital a reality as urgently as possible".

The site is owned by the St Vincent's Healthcare Group, of which the Sisters of Charity are a major shareholder.

Update: 9am: Over 50,000 people have signed an online petition in a bid to block the Government from handing ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital to the Sisters of Charity.

However, the religious group, which is one of the four congregations which managed Magdalene laundries, has so far failed to pay its share of funds to a redress scheme for the victims of institutional abuse.

These relate to the development of a hospital that is in line with best worldwide practice for maternity hospitals; the provision of clinical, operational and financial independence "with no question of religious interference" and a role for the Minister to guarantee this; and the protection of the State's financial and public health interest.

"Maternity care gets to the root of how we value women in this country, and historically has been where women have been worst treated by our State", he said.

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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.

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.

Dr Peter Boylan said he fully supports the current master of Holles Street in the need for the new facility, but said the "structure is completely wrong".

Let me be very clear: there will be no financial gain to any religious order from the development of this hospital.
No private entity or religious order can profit in any way.

"Legal arrangements will be put in place which will 100% protect the State's investment and interest in the new hospital". The current buildings are no longer fit for objective. "That is what I intend to do, while absolutely protecting public health policy, taxpayers' money and the state".

The contracts must mean that no private entity or religious order can profit and that the building can only be used for the defined goal of providing public maternity, gynaecological and neonatal services.

A decision on a planning application on the new hospital is due in August or September.