‘There Is No Legal Document In Existence’

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Dr Peter Boylan speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk this morning

Further to the resignation of Dr Peter Boylan, former Master of the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street, from the hospital’s board.

Following more than a week of claims and counter-claims concerning the running of the proposed new National Maternity Hospital on the St Vincent’s site.

And the non-publication of any memorandum of understanding or articles of association between Holles Street and St Vincent’s.

Dr Boylan spoke at length to Pat Kenny, on Newstalk this morning.

During the interview, Dr Boylan said: “the devil of this is going to be in the detail. And the memorandums and articles of association have not been, the work has not even been proceeded yet..”

He also said he hopes “the public debate will persuade [the hospital’s shareholders/governors] that it’s a very fragile deal, flawed and, inevitably, I think will cause huge conflict in the running of the hospital”.

From the interview…

Pat Kenny: “First of all, by text on Sunday, from Rhona Mahony and from Nicky Kearns, you were asked to resign. Did that matter come up as an issue, as a motion at the board meeting last evening?”

Peter Boylan: “No, it didn’t. I don’t really want to say an awful lot more about the meeting last night because I gave an agreement that it would be confidential.”

Kenny: “Yeah. But it did come up? Like there was no great move to oust you or anything like that?”

Boylan: “Well, there was no motion put to the board that my resignation should be given.”

Kenny: “I presume you can tell us what is already in the public domain that there was a vote on the issue in question. Because we know that there is a majority on the board. How big a majority was it and how comfortable of a majority and how many dissident voices might there be?”

Boylan: “The vote was overwhelming.”

Kenny: “Overwhelming.”

Boylan: “In favour of the agreement.”

Kenny: “This leaves you, probably, a bit isolated because you had initially been a lone voice although the Lord Mayor of Dublin has added his voice. And there are two separate issues at the heart of this. One is the ethical issue which you have highlighted and then the second issue is the idea of handing over €300million of taxpayers’ money to a private entity. I’ve suggested already that, you know, they wouldn’t do it to Jimmy Sheehan from the Blackrock Clinic but they have decided to give it to St Vincent’s Healthcare because they want the synergies between the two hospitals. So, addressing both of those issues. One may have been resolved between the two boards that they think they can cobble together an agreement with all the safeguards that the minister thinks he will have in a month’s time. But the other one is a more general thing about what ministers do on our behalf with our money.”

Boylan: “Yes, you made reference there that I was a lone voice. That’s correct, more or less, on the board. But I’m not a lone voice in the community, outside, to which we have a great responsibility, to the women in particular. I’m also not a lone voice in the medical profession in that the previous master of the Coombe Hospital, Chris Fitzpatrick, and the previous master of the Rotunda, Sam Coulter-Smith. They’ve both voiced serious reservations about the governance proposed structures. So with regard to the agreement itself, there is a lot of issues with it. And the major ones are transfer of ownership of the National Maternity Hospital outright, 100% to the Religious Sisters of Charity on land that they own. The company that will run the hospital will be owned outright by the Sisters of Charity.”

Kenny: “Now, last time we spoke, you talked about the structure of the National Maternity Hospital. It’s national in name.”

Boylan: “That’s correct, yes.”

Kenny: “That’s a nice conceit to maintain, you know, but in fact it is not the centre, the national centre, like the national paediatric hospital at St. James’s will be the national centre of excellence, etc, etc, ..”

Boylan: “That’s correct.”

Kenny: “There’s excellence in all of the major maternity hospitals.”

Boylan: “That’s absolutely correct.”

Kenny: “But the structure is that there’s a board of governors who are the people in whom ownership is vested. Are they happy that their ownership is being transferred lock, stock and barrel to the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group?”

Boylan: “Well, they haven’t been asked.”

Kenny: “But how can that be legal? Unless they…”

Boylan: “I don’t know about the legality of it but there is no legal document in existence on which the governors, the owners, the shareholders of the National Maternity Hospital can vote. And the devil of this is going to be in the detail. And the memorandums and articles of association have not been, the work has not even been proceeded yet…”

Kenny: “So is it your understanding that they kind of maybe did a survey of the governors, checked them out and said, ‘will you be in favour of this thing?’. And they kind of gave them the nod. Because it is bizarre that any attempt to move ownership of a resource, whatever that might be, without the consent of the vested owners, would be bizarre?”

Boylan: “It would be bizarre and it is bizarre. I think, to be fair, that it’s likely that the governors would, the shareholders of Holles Street, probably would agree to the transfer because they would be convinced by the arguments. Now, hopefully, the public debate will persuade them that it’s a very fragile deal, flawed and, inevitably, I think will cause huge conflict in the running of the hospital. It’s been said that the nuns are not going to run the hospital, that’s absolutely correct. They’re not going to run the hospital and I have never suggested that they would run the hospital but they own the hospital, they own the company that runs it and they’ve undue representation on the board.”

Later

Kenny: “So you’ve resigned with immediate effect.”

Boylan: “With immediate effect. I can’t remain a member of a board which is so blind to the consequences of its decision to transfer sole ownership of the hospital to the Religious Sisters of Charity and so deaf to the concerns of the public which it serves.”

Kenny: “You have reiterated in your letter of resignation a number of the issues that you’ve been talking about this past couple of weeks. Remind us of what they are.”

Boylan: “Well, as I said, the hospital will be on land owned by the Religious Sisters of Charity, it’ll be 100% owned by the Religious Sisters of Charity. The company tasked with running the hospital will be owned outright by the Sisters of Charity. And to believe that… any hospital that is built on land, owned by the Catholic Church, is obliged to follow Catholic teaching and canon law, medical practices and procedures. And that was clarified by Bishop Kevin Doran and also confirmed by Vincent Twomey last weekend.”

Kenny: “But didn’t one of your successors in the job of master, Declan Keane, I think, said he had performed, I think it was, a sterilisation in his private practice in St Vincent’s.”

Boylan: “No, he performed two, not in his private practice, but some women with very complicated pregnancies where the placenta, the afterbirth, is invading the uterus, will need to have a hysterectomy but sometimes you can preserve the uterus and in those circumstances the reasonable thing and what the women would wish, usually, is that they have a sterilisation…”

Kenny: “But if you could do that in St Vincent’s, does that not suggest that they…”

Boylan: “Well, he had to get permission to do that whereas…”

Kenny:He had to ask for permission?

Boylan: “Yes, as a matter of courtesy, from the clinical director of the hospital. So, in the National Maternity Hospital and in hospitals without religious influence, you just do it, it’s a matter between the patient and the doctor herself, as it should be.”

Listen back in full here

Yesterday: Where’s The Memorandum Of Understanding?

How Deal Leaves Doors Open For Church Control

26 thoughts on “‘There Is No Legal Document In Existence’

  1. On The Buses

    I’d imagine there will be a lot of cognitive dissonance beinng experiennced by a lot of third wave feminists surrounding these recent dabtes. Namely due to the fact that Dr. O’Mahoney is advocating for church ownership of the new national maternity hospital whilst a referendum regarding abortion looms.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      As I have said in a previous post – ” Shoot the Messenger ” – let nothing disturb the scummy, extortionists in their quest for dominance and profit. Sickening.

    2. classter

      Tbf she just wants to get the project built.

      I don’t agree with her that this issue should be ignored but I’m sure she is aware of how difficult it can be to get these sorts of projects moving and is terrified of this problem derailing it

      1. nellyb

        We treat building a building like Musk’s Rocket X project. The banality of the task and the ideological froth on top of it – we should really cop on now, it’s embarrassing.

        1. newsjustin

          That’s pure Michael O’Leary “We’ll build it ourselves. I’ll drive the digger” guff.

          Building a national maternity hospital that needs to integrate with an existing hospital is quite complex. Unless you have infinite budget or time.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Yeah! We should leave the hospital building to the experts; nuns from the Catholic Church. We should all bow down and show them our gratitude for their infinite generosity in taking our money.

          2. Daisy Chainsaw

            Or a tract of land that you can leverage €300 million in taxpayers’ money to add to your global portfolio. Sisters of Charity in the US are worth $15 billion. How charitable, eh?

          3. Owen C

            If i buy a gold bar for $100k, and give it to you, but tell you you cant sell it, you cant use it as collateral against a loan, and I will decide what it is used for, forver, is that gold bar actually worth $100k to you?

          4. martco

            tis funny Owen
            I was thinking roundabout something similar earlier on today to your gold bar

            say if I had a friend that offered me a plot of land she owns so I can build a 3 bed house, its in the land registry in her name and all the rest, for starters I wouldn’t get a mortgage for that and for good reason – because it’s not worth a bollox to me or the bank in that condition

          5. Sheik Yahbouti

            Strange that. An operator like James Sheehan allows a maximum of two years for the building and fitting out of a Hospital. He makes sure it is on time and strictly to budget. A tough business man. Are his qualities unique? I’m sure they are not. However they seem sadly lacking in the goms we have allegedly ‘working’ on our behalf.

    3. Listrade

      Yeah, Rhona Mahony who spoke a lot about the need for legislation following the Savita case, who appeared before the Oireachtas committee in May 2013 to state her case and to say Suicide must be included under the “threat of death”…but then in November of that year found that her pay was leaked to the press where private clinical work was deliberately stated as being “a top up from the hospital” and she under went weeks of press harassment.

      Funnily enough, Boylan was stronger in his support of legislation allowing abortion, but didn’t suffer any leaks. Nor did Dr Coulter Smith Master of the Rotunda who advocated against the legislation. Both of whom also benefit from private patients.

      Maybe the message was well and truly received about going against official policy.

    4. nellyb

      “third wave feminists”? :-) Every time our clerical lambs are in the spotlight, they drag in all the freudian faux catholic brigade. The type a sane woman will not be sitting next to on a bus out of precaution.

    5. Daisy Chainsaw

      Damn, On The Buses! I just needed “antifa” and I’d have had a full house on Buzzword Bingo!

  2. Sheik Yahbouti

    Never thought I’d find myself saying this but, check out the Joe Duffy show today – which has sparked further investigation into the activities of these ‘Charitable’ ladies. Son of former Comptroller and Auditor general on the show with his Dad’s reminisences on the birth of St. Vincent’s Hospital, Elm Park in 1970 – together with further digging into the Dail and other records. Mindblowing.

      1. Sheik Yahbouti

        Same scam in 1970. Sisters owned St. Vincent’s Hospital in huge building on St. Stephen’s Green. Larger Hospital needed. State, by arrangement, forked out 5 mil. (a huge sum in those days) for the building of the current St. Vincent’s on land previously owned by the Order. Huge building in St. Stephen’s Green was supposed to be handed over in part payment. Never happened – nuns claimed that such an arrangement never existed, despite the protestations of Department Officials and the late Dr. Noel Browne, who had been party to the agreement. Sisters later sold St. Stephen’s Green premises for huge sum. So a second huge blag by the Sisters is now underway – and we’re all to be delighted about it.

  3. Owen C

    Dr Peter Boylan, earlier this week: ““That would make the new hospital unique in the world in that it would be the only hospital in the world owned by the Catholic Church and effectively run by a company that is owned by the Catholic Church to allow things like IVF, sterilisation, abortion, gender reassignment surgery etc, etc,” Boylan said.

    Dr Peter Boylan, this morning: “No, he performed two, not in his private practice, but some women with very complicated pregnancies where the placenta, the afterbirth, is invading the uterus, will need to have a hysterectomy but sometimes you can preserve the uterus and in those circumstances the reasonable thing and what the women would wish, usually, is that they have a sterilisation…”

    I’m confused – do they allow sterilisation in SVHG or not? Or did he mean “allow” as in you have to ask first? Cos that seems to add some context. My initial understanding was that the procedure simply couldn’t happen in SVHG. Before everyone starts ranting – you shouldn’t have to ask, but it does suggest this isn’t as restricted as perhaps originally suggested.

    Two other things:

    “During the interview, Dr Boylan said: “the devil of this is going to be in the detail. And the memorandums and articles of association have not been, the work has not even been proceeded yet..” – so the ultimate right or wrong on this issue is still dependent on what agreement eventually arrives? So shouldn’t we wait to see that before drawing conclusions??

    Boylan: “I think, to be fair, that it’s likely that the governors would, the shareholders of Holles Street, probably would agree to the transfer because they would be convinced by the arguments”. So again a set of independent people, many of whom are doctors, will decide as to whether this will be a good or bad idea, and Dr Boylan thinks they will believe it to be a good idea?

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      You really don’t understand the issues Owen, and all of us have lives, which means we can’t afford the countless hours it would take to explain it to you.

  4. ollie

    So 2 women were told that they can keep their uterus but it would be dangerous to get pregnant therefore they should be sterilised.
    That’s a medical decision not a moral or religious one, so it’s irrelevant.
    Also, 2 women, in almost 50 years?

    Putting this aside, this government are happy to hand over €300 million worth of state assets to a private company who could then mortgage the asset to raise money, possibly leading to a repo by the lender?

    But hey don’t worry because Simon Harris has this all covered off in his non existent contract with the Nuns.

    I’d like to offer a solution:
    1. Build the maternity hospital in Blanchardstown or Tallaght. Loads of space and no need for a redesign
    2. Seize all assets from the Sisters Of Charity as they are the proceeds of slavery and human trafficking.

    On the subject of hospitals, can you ask Simon Harris the Journalist if he’s interested in writing a piece on why the cost of relocating Temple St to St James has increased from €400,000,000 to €1,000,000,000?

  5. Andy

    On error noted above.

    A board will normally make a decision on an M&A proposal prior to putting it to a shareholder vote. The board is there to make recommendations to shareholders ffs. Their recommendation can be positive or negative. How the hell else do they think it works?

    It’s similar to the unions lads. They negotiate & agree terms with an employer, then recommend said agreement to their members and the members vote yay or nay.

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