Government must provide update on new National Maternity Hospital negotiations
Speaking in the Seanad, Labour Senator Annie Hoey reiterated calls to government to ensure that the new National Maternity Hospital is a public hospital built on publicly owned land.
Senator Hoey said:
“Historically, we have long had church and religious control exercised over our healthcare and education institutions in this country. The government can’t sleepwalk the nation into this again. The new National Maternity Hospital has to be wholly publicly owned, and entirely independent of any religious or church ethos.
“Government must provide clarity on this issue, not continuing to put their head in the sand. We need to find a solution to the ownership of the site. My colleague Labour leader Alan Kelly has previously called on government to commit to a compulsory purchase order of the site, given that St Vincent’s is not forthcoming on a sale or indeed gift of the site.
“We repealed the eighth amendment, which was only half the battle. Without ready access to abortion and other services, that repeal will mean very little. With the new maternity hospital costing the State at least €350 million, and set to be built on land owned by the Sisters of Charity and run by a board appointed by them, the promised access will be compromised. I fail to see how it cannot be.
“We must address the religious ownership issue and the ongoing impact that has on the provision of public health services. It is wholly inappropriate that the Catholic Church would retain any influence over decisions relating to women and our healthcare. Healthcare should be informed by best medical practice and not by religious ethos.”