Sisters of Charity precedent should now be studied by other Orders

29 May 2017

Labour Spokesperson on Health, Alan Kelly TD, has welcomed the announcement that the Religious Sisters of Charity are to relinquish ownership of their three hospitals, as well as the planned new National Maternity Hospital at the St. Vincent’s site in Dublin, and said that the precedent should now be studied by other religious orders.

Deputy Kelly commented:

“This is a ground-breaking move by the Sisters of Charity to relinquish control and divest ownership of the three hospitals, as well as the planned new National Maternity Hospital, to an independent board.

“It is a precedent that should now be studied by other religious orders in the health and education sectors that are in control of state funded and built facilities.

“I have been opposed to the involvement of a religious order in the running of this new National Maternity Hospital since news of the deal first emerged last month, and have long argued that a hospital built and paid for by the State must remain in public ownership.

“At the time I called on the Minister for Health to consider bringing in legislation, if necessary, to initiate a compulsory order for the site to ensure this. I am still concerned that this will not be the case with the new facility, and these issues need to be addressed by the Department of Health.

“I await full details of the plan and how the hospital group will be governed, as well as possible ownership issues around the land that the private hospital is built on.

“However this is a good day for the people of Ireland and the path has now been cleared for the construction of a National Maternity Hospital that is so badly needed.

“The women of Ireland must be assured, and can now be relieved, that the new facility will deliver the utmost care for them and their children with no risk of denominational control of medical decisions.”

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