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

Thousands oppose nuns owning new hospital

"'It is correct that the land on which the new maternity hospital will be built is owned by the St. Vincent's Healthcare Group and that the Sisters of Charity are a major shareholder in the St. Vincent's Healthcare Group", reads a Department of Health statement.

"How it is possible for a religious order who denied so many women any sort of dignity be given sole ownership of our new maternity hospital?"

"In doing so, they have foregone the opportunity to put this land to alternative use", he said.

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.

A deal with the Sisters of Charity proposes the new €300 million facility will be built on the St Vincent's Hospital campus in south Dublin, which the religious order owns.

However, Rhona Mahony, Master of Holles Street maternity hospital, has stridently defended the move and insisted the hospital will be fully independent and that independence will be protected by a "triple lock system".

Let me be very clear: there will be no financial gain to any religious order from the development of this hospital.

Around 200 protestors gathered this lunchtime, calling for the nuns to have no part in the running of the hospital. No private entity or religious order can profit in any way. Not true. I have heard that nuns have been gifted the hospital.

The Minister said that the urgent need for the new National Maternity Hospital was separate to that of the redress for abuse survivors, which he says is "long overdue".

One person who signed the petition, under the username Rhonda M, said: "I'm signing to show my support for all the women, children and families who have suffered at the hands of this institution".

'Demand they formally apologise and pay redress'.

The leading medic called for people to "get real" and said contraceptive treatment or abortions when a woman's life is at risk will be carried out at the new hospital.

The minister said "reserved powers" have been set out in the agreement to guarantee independence.

Councillor Éilish Ryan from the Workers Party, which is organising today's demonstration, says Irish women want well-funded, state-run public services, that are not owned by the Church, big corporations, or anyone else. "That is what I intend to do, while absolutely protecting public health policy, taxpayers' money and the state".

"Robust contractual arrangements must be put in place to make sure that this is a reality". Legal arrangements will be put in place which will 100pc protect the State's investment and interest in the new hospital.

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