Labour Women
18 April 2017

Labour Women has condemned the announcement by the Department of Heath that the Sisters of Charity are to be the sole owners of the new maternity hospital, describing it as “an outrage and an insult to all women”.

Speaking on the matter Chair of Labour Women Sinead Ahern commented: “Today we have learned that the Sisters of Charity are to become the sole owner of the new National Maternity Hospital. This is a religious order that has to date failed to provide its share of funds to a redress scheme for institutional abuse victims and has previously announced that they would not be making any contribution to the State redress scheme for women who had been in the laundries. This begs the question why an order that has such low regard for women and the vulnerable and owes the State a substantial sum of money should be given ownership of anything.

“Time and time again we have heard how the Church, including the Sisters of Charity, has failed women and children. Now we are being told that they are to be put in sole ownership of a facility that is there for women in what is possibly the most vulnerable time of their lives; this is nothing short of a disgrace.

“We have all seen and heard the devastating consequences of what can happen when religion is put before a woman’s needs when it comes to maternity care. We only have to look back as recently as 2012 and the tragic circumstances surrounding the passing of Savita Halappanavar to see that involving the Church in healthcare matters should not be how things are done going forward.

“Lessons from the past must be learnt and it is crucial that this government realises that Church involvement in healthcare must end in the interest of putting the patient first. For too long women have been forced to endure being second class citizens when it comes to healthcare needs and this announcement adds insult to injury. Minister for Health Simon Harris and his government colleagues need to realise that there is no place for religious orders in our publicly funded institutions in 21st Century Ireland and put a stop to this before more women suffer the consequences.”

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