Yesterday’s announcement that the Sisters of Charity will have ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital in south Dublin has caused widespread shock and disgust.
For survivors of child abuse in residential institutions it was another kick in the teeth to hear The Sisters of Charity, who still haven’t honoured their commitments to contribute towards the €128 million redress costs, would take charge of the new €300 million hospital next to St Vincent’s.
The land on which the hospital will be built is owned by The Sisters of Charity.
In 2013 the Sisters of Charity said they wouldn’t make any contribution to the government’s redress scheme for women who had been in Magdalene laundries.
The Magdalene Survivors Together Group chairman Steven O’Riordan said yesterday’s news brought:
“Deep anger and absolute shock.
“This decision goes beyond belief.
“How it is possible for a religious order who denied so many women any sort of dignity be given sole ownership of our new maternity hospital?”
Health Minister, Simon Harris says there won’t be any religious influence on the governance of the new national maternity hospital and it will have full clinical, operational, financial and budgetary independence.
Opposition parties claim there could be a conflict of interest between medical decisions and Catholic principles.
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar believes it’s important the issue of ownership of the new national maternity hospital is clarified. He said:
“An arrangement on governance so that Holles Street could move from Holles Street to the campus of St Vincents and the land there is owned by The Sisters of Charity.
“I guess it was anticipated that they would continue to own their own land but perhaps that the building would belong to the Board of Holles Street but of course the decision now has been made not to have a Board of Holles Street but to merge the two boards.
“I’m not sure exactly what the decision is there or what the plan is but I think it’s important that it is clarified but I’m sure Simon Harris will do that.”