A Little Bit Green



From top: Dublin’s Lord Mayor Brendan Carr on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland; Dublin City Councillor, with the Green Party, Clare Byrne; and a graphic from mediator Kieran Mulvey’s report on the agreement to the Minister for Health Simon Harris

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr, spoke to Cathal MacCoille, following last night’s meeting of the board of the National Maternity Hospital where a motion re-endorsing the agreement for it to move to the St Vincent’s site was passed.

Mr Carr was one of three members who opposed the motion.

During the interview, Mr Carr told Mr Mac Coille:

A number of people stressed to me last night when that initial decision was made, they took it under duress. I thought, what I’m saying is last night, my opinion, right, I stress this is my opinion, the manner in which some members of the board were treated last night was done in a very bullying and intimidatory way. That’s my opinion.”

Following Morning Ireland, Labour party leader Brendan Howlin and two board members of the National Maternity Hospital, Sinn Féin councillor Micheal MacDonncha and Green party councillor Clare Byrne, both of whom were at last night’s meeting, spoke on Today with Seán O’Rourke.

During the segment, Ms Byrne said she understands the Religious Sisters of Charity “will have no representation on the governance” of the new hospital.

From the interview

Clare Byrne: “In three years, as a board member, that’s the first time that I’ve sat at that table with the Lord Mayor. So, he was coming to a meeting discussing an issue that has been repeatedly discussed for a number of years. He didn’t attend any of the special meetings that were called. So, it was terse meeting, there’s no denying that. But, of course it was, I mean it’s an extremely important decision that’s being made. And, obviously, it’s important to consider the opinion of the public…”

Sean O’Rourke: “And…”

Byrne: “…which we made very clear over the last week also.”

O’Rourke: “What do you make of Peter Boylan, his reason, I think, for resigning. Just to quote from him, ‘I can’t remain a member of the board that is so blind to the consequences of his 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’. You’re all deaf. And blind.”

Byrne: “No, I certainly don’t think I’m deaf and blind to the concerns of the public. I’ve listened very carefully to, and I’ve had a number of people contact me over the last few days, in particular. And I do share their concerns. Absolutely. But look, the reality is, is that we need this hospital and this is the only site that was being offered. There has been little or no support from this government or the previous government, which Brendan [Howlin] you were a member of, to do anything to end the marriage between church and State. There’s been little support for the board for this move which is a crucial service that we need for the women of Ireland. I had my child in Holles Street last year, I received an impeccable level of care but how they do it, in those conditions, is nothing short of a miracle on a daily basis.”

[Can hear Ms Byrne’s baby in background]

O’Rourke: “And the baby is obviously thriving, we’re glad to hear. There’s no doubt about it.”

Byrne: “He is, he is. But the reality is, is that building is not fit for purpose. And they’re in situations where they’re literally shoving beds in between beds and you may have a woman who has just lost a child having to recover surrounded by women who are celebrating the birth of their children. To me, that’s not fair. I think it’s cruel. That needs to change. This move to Vincent’s will provide the level of maternity care that women of Ireland…”

Brendan Howlin:Everyone is in agreement that we need a new hospital. I walked every inch of it with Dr Rhona Mahony. I went back and immediately spoke to [former minister for health] Dr James Reilly, we allocated the money to do it. Nobody is arguing that there shouldn’t be a new national maternity hospital. But we have to think generationally into the future. That it would be democratically controlled and…”

Byrne: “But Brendan with all due respect, you know that that land was owned by the Sisters of Charity when you walked the site back then, so why didn’t you do anything about it when you were in government?”

Howlin: “Because I would have insisted, had I been in government, that the control and ownership would be exactly the same as in Holles Street. That’s what I understood was going to happen.”

Byrne: “Well, my understanding from the board meeting back in November and, again, last night, is that the Sisters of Charity will have no representation on the governance or input into the clinical [inaudible]…”

Howlin: “But they will have four out of the nine members of the board…why would they want to, if they don’t have any influence, and would the sensible, sane and rational thing now to do would simply be to hand over the land, including getting compensation, getting…”

Byrne: “But that’s not a matter for the board to decide. That’s a matter for the minister to decide. The ownership…”

Howlin: “No, but the governors are the future of the hospital. Maintaining the ethos that you praised within Holles Street is a matter for the board to decide. And, you know, the notion that you’re going to have a legal agreement that [inaudible], that give you assurances, that all sounds well and good but let’s put it beyond doubt now, let’s have ownership..”

Talk over each other

Byrne: “Well, hopefully, when the minister signs off on the final memorandum of agreement, that will be put beyond doubt. And it’s up to him to ensure that that’s what happens now.”

O’Rourke: “I just want to…”

Byrne:I’m satisfied from the current governance structure that the Sisters of Charity will have no input into clinical decisions made in that hospital…”

Howlin: “Why do they want to own it then?”

Bryne: “And of course I’m concerned about that for the women of Ireland. I want to see a repeal of the Eighth Amendment. I raised those concerns repeatedly during the meeting and I’m satisfied from the responses that I received from the negotiating team, and the legal team, that that will not be the case.”


Howlin: “Kieran Mulvey was brought in and I’ve dealt with Kieran Mulvey for 20 years, to broker deals between parties in dispute. So the fact that there was a dispute between the Sisters of Charity and the National Maternity Hospital indicates that what was brokered was a settlement…”

O’Rourke: “And it was one side had ownership and the other side had control.”

Howlin: “Well, that’s the point. I don’t think it’s right that people should…”

O’Rourke: “And the minster has a veto…”

Howlin: “Well, I mean there’s going to be a board of nine, four of them are going to be appointed by the Sisters of Charity, four by the National Maternity Hospital and, if you like, the casting vote or the deciding vote is to be an eminent person, in the field of…”

Byrne: “[inaudible]…by St Vincent’s.”

Howlin: “I beg your pardon.”

Byrne:Four will be appointed by St Vincent’s

Howlin:No, no, the St Vincent’s trust, which is the Sisters of Charity.”

Byrne: “Well, my understanding is…”

Howlin: “It’s the St Vincent’s trust who are the Sisters of Charity, is that not a fact?”

Byrne: “My understanding is that the Sisters of Charity will have no input into who’s elected onto the [inaudible]”

Howlin: “You’ve attended all the meetings, you’ve said to us that the…the St Vincent’s trust is the Sisters of Charity. And so they would nominate four, maybe you haven’t a full grasp of that. And maybe…”

O’Rourke: “Just to come back Micheal MacDonncha, do you want to enlighten us on that?”

Micheal MacDonncha: “Yes, I mean, that is, what Brendan Howlin is saying there is correct and let’s remember that, from day one here, the aim of the St Vincent’s Trust was complete control. Their original approach was that they wanted to subsume the National Maternity Hospital into Vincent’s and that was the starting point and, hence, there was deadlock and hence there was negotiations and that has been revealed by the Lord Mayor. It was stated at the meeting last night that members themselves that they were under duress to endorse the agreement back in November…there was duress in the sense that it was a Hobson’s choice. It was either this agreement or no hospital.”

Listen back in full here

Thanks Ian

26 thoughts on “A Little Bit Green

  1. On The Buses

    Classy move by Byrne having her baby, who she points out was born in Holles street last year, with her on a national news programme.

    1. Fgshill

      Oh this is some DEFCON 1 First Estate Ice-capade going on here. Byrne’s just one of many cast members. I’d say some nun will self-immolate on the Late Late before it’s over

  2. VinLieger

    The woman is clueless, during the interview she stresses that the 4 board members would be chosen by the Vincents hospital trust with no input from the sisters of charity and seems completely oblivious to the fact the vincents trust is run by the sisters of charity, when brendan howlin pointed this out to here she still tried to claim otherwise

  3. Increasing Displacement

    “But look, the reality is, is that we need this hospital and this is the only site that was being offered”

    Lost any ounce of respect right there. What a poo reason to do something wrong.

      1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐƃᴉq

        Don’t knock Moderation.
        I’ve been in Moderation for as long as I can remember. After a while you’ll learn to accept it.
        You’ll realise that there’s no way out, and that moaning about it only makes you look self-centred and silly.
        There’s a lot of good people in here. It’s a good place.

      2. mildred st. meadowlark

        I frequently use ‘bold’ words and, honestly, I’m not sure if I’ve been put on the naughty step for it. I think it depends?

  4. MoyestWithExcitement

    The central message from all the apologists is ‘we have no choice but to ask the Catholic Church for their help’ and they pretend they’re being pragmatic. It’s pure right wing ideology they’re pushing.

  5. AlisonT

    I thought brendan carr came across very poorly on the radio this morning. He wasn’t at the board meeting where the decision was made and he was just name calling this morning. I don’t like the new setup but the government didn’t have a lot of choice if they wanted the hospital dual located and on the south side of the city. Any attempt to cpo this site without the adult hospital would be pointless and any attempt to CPO the adult hospital would likely fall foul of the constitution. How would they prove a common good to CPO what appears to be well functioning Adult hospital.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Maybe a good reason is that the welfare of our society should be in the hands of our society and not a private American cult with millions upon millions in the bank.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Also they owe us, I think it’s €15million. If a young family racks up a 20 grand debt with the bank they *can’t* pay back, they can lose their home. I don’t see why we’re not confiscating their assets.

    2. timble

      He wasn’t at the board meeting because his place on the Board comes with the position of Lord Mayor and in practise LMs haven’t attended these board meetings. However the nature of the issues at stake led him to attend yesterday.

      1. newsjustin

        I still think Archbishop Martin should start attending – as he’s chair of that board. Some people’s heads would explode if that happened.

  6. Sheik Yahbouti

    On the other hand, AlisonT, would it really be beyond the bounds of reason to ask this Order to just for once, do something for the people of this country, who have maintained them with grants and donations since their foundation; who have been maltreated and sold by them, instead of once again seeking to stuff their ever expanding coffers? Would that really be cloud cuckoo land, to ask them to donate the site, or sell it at a favourable price? I suppose so.

    1. newsjustin

      Not with that crappy attitude:

      ” We hate you and think you’ve never done anything good for anyone. So here’s how you can redeem yourselves……”

  7. phil

    Is it possible that that the other hospital thats going to be built , the children’s hospital , Is it possible that there t was never any chance of it being built on a green field site. That the building of that hospital had to be negotiated with a religious order , so that it could have access to services in an adult hospital controlled by them ?

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Yes. Noel Smyth offered a really good site, on the M50, near to Tallaght Hospital. Which offer was declined. No adequate explanation for the refusal was ever offered.

      1. timble

        Overwhelming medical choice was St James. plenty of explanation has been provided. Lots of people just choose to ignore it

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