Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

Thousands oppose nuns owning new hospital

Thousands oppose nuns owning new hospital

Organised by the Workers' Party, protesters called on the government to reverse the decision that would see religious order the Sisters of Charity owning the new National Maternity Hospital.

Harris said: "Questions have been raised about financial benefits to the Sisters of Charity due to the maternity hospital being developed on their campus". In doing so, they have foregone the opportunity to put this land to alternative use.

"It's hard to imagine what Simon Harris and The Department of Health are thinking, handing over a €300 million hospital to a group with such a history of immoral, untrustworthy, and abusive behaviour".

"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'".

"It's just not right that a maternity hospital in 2017 in Ireland, 100 years after the foundation of the State, should be transferred from the governance of the maternity hospital to the religious orders of the Sisters of Charity", he said.

"The St Vincent's Healthcare Group is making available very valuable land at no cost to the State, to facilitate the relocation of the National Maternity Hospital".

She said: 'The petition receiving over 35,000 highlights to me the shared feelings of outrage and frustration felt by Irish citizens.

Mr Harris said: "I have heard people say that nuns will be running the hospital". A maternity hospital being given to the nuns?

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".

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

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

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. No private entity or religious order can profit in any way. Legal arrangements will be put in place which will 100pc protect the State's investment and interest in the new hospital.

The Fine Gael TD said he met with the Director General of the HSE today and requested that three criteria are "satisfied in full" before contracts are put in place.

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.

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