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Religious influence or ownership has no place in National Maternity Hospital - Senator Máire Devine

5 December, 2018 - by Máire Devine

Sinn Féin Seanad spokesperson for Health Sentor Máire Devine has today challenged the Minister of State at the Department of Health Catherine Byrne on what seems to be the chaotic proposed governance structures for our new National Maternity Hospital.

Senator Devine outlined her main concerns after the Seanad proceedings earlier today:

“The Minister’s response to my reasoned questioning today was limp, weak and inadequate. The issues that I raised were not addressed.

"There remains a lack of clarity as to the hospital’s ownership and control. The hospital will be governed by St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group which effectively is the religious order the ‘Sisters of Charity’.

"The protests and public outcry last year were vehemently against any religious influence or ownership in our National Maternity Hospital. This hospital is ours. It is for the women and children of Ireland.

"The €350 million construction costs will be paid by the tax payer but as the ‘Sisters of Charity’ own the land we are effectively handing this over to them.

"The previous masters of both the ‘Coombe’ and ‘Holles Street’ hospitals resigned last year due to the concerns of the catholic ethos prevailing at the hospital.

"They questioned how IVF, abortion, gender reassignment and sterilisation procedures would be provided given the very nature of the conflict of these issues with the catholic church teachings.

"We need to separate church and state. Repeal showed us that journey. We will not subject Irish women and their Children to the cruel treatment of the recent past. 

"The hospital must be in public ownership, and governed by a secular charter fit for the 21st Century.

"I will be joining “Make the National Maternity Hospital Ours” group on Saturday 8th December at the Spire at 2pm to support their call.”

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