22 April 2017

Labour Party TD Joan Burton has welcomed the passing of Emergency Motions regarding the ownership and governance of the National Maternity Hospital at the St. Vincent’s Hospital site, at the party’s National Conference in Wexford this morning.

Opening this morning’s discussion on the matter, Deputy Burton said:

“Ireland is in the unique situation in terms of its strong population growth, which means there are lots and lots of babies being born.

“So we need a new National Maternity Hospital for the 21st century, and we need it as soon as possible.

“But we want it in public ownership and trust, to ensure the best of care for women and babies, and we want a hospital that provides the full range of services.

“I am sure people were confused, confounded and worried at what we read and heard in the media this week- news of deals and agreements, and how utterly bizarre these convoluted arrangements were.

“Golden shares have proven in the past to be weak instruments of public control and they don’t last.

“A board of nine directors, of whom at least four will be nominated by religious congregations. Secret deals, with no publication of the agreement. And a minister who appears hapless, helpless and hopeless, and who has been rolled over by a stronger and cleverer negotiating team on the opposite side of the table.

‘’So, I am calling on the Minister to make public the agreement reached with St Vincent’s, as the people have a right to see what the Minister has signed up to in their name.

“If I were writing a book, let’s call it ‘The Art of the Deal’, how amazing would it be to have a 300 million euro hospital project handed over to a religious congregation with the dodgy history on previous deals.

“So, Minister publish the deal. Publish it next week, and publish it in full. Our citizens are entitled to know and not be treated as infants and babies, patted on the head and told all will be well.”


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