Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD has welcomed the announcement that the Sisters of Charity have received approval from the Vatican to transfer ownership of the site for the new National Maternity Hospital to St Vincents Holdings CLG.  However, this does not constitute public ownership of the site.  Deputy Shortall said today’s development should be seen as just the first stage in a process where SVH CLG should now be required to transfer ownership of the site to the State.  The public investment in the new hospital, of up to €500M,  must be protected by public ownership of the site on which it is built.

Róisín Shortall TD said:

“The new National Maternity Hospital is badly needed and it is regrettable that it is taking so long to get to a situation where this much needed project can proceed.  Today’s announcement can only be seen as stage one of a process where the State can legally own this site and stage two must entail the ownership of the site transferring to State.  We also need assurances that the governance structure of the new Maternity Hospital will be fully independent and separate to the corporate structure of St Vincent’s Holdings CLG.  The governance structure proposed in the Mulvey report does not provide that independence.

“It has always been patently clear that there could not be full public ownership of a hospital that was on privately owned grounds – whether religious or otherwise – and that such ownership would have significant implications for both the ethos of the hospital and the protection of the public purse.  It would be a serious error for the Government to contemplate the handing over this valuable asset and would repeat the mistakes of the past where taxpayer funded health and education infrastructure is gifted to private interests.”

08th May 2020

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