Hospital Pass



Kildate Street and Merrion Street, Dublin 2.

Protestors campaigning against the Catholic Church owning the new National Maternity Hospital outside Leinster House and government buildings after It emerged that the religious order that runs SVHG, the Sisters of Charity, would retain ownership of the hospital.

Meanwhile, this morning…

…Via Irish Times letters:

We, the consultants of the National Maternity Hospital, are concerned by the potential for misinformation and misunderstanding to delay a vital project to create a world-class maternity hospital for the women and babies of Ireland.

The misinformation that services at the new maternity hospital will be curtailed by any religious ethos is particularly troubling given its inaccuracy.

We want to reassure women and their families that all obstetric, neonatal and gynaecological care within Irish law is currently being provided at Holles Street, and will be provided in the new hospital. This will include terminations, tubal ligation, transgender and assisted reproduction services.

We as clinicians could not countenance any restriction on our practice based on religion.

A cast-iron guarantee in this regard is included in the proposed operating licence to be granted by the Department of Health for the new hospital, and we would not allow the project to proceed without this in place.

Any further delay in approving this project damages the interests of the mothers and babies who are grossly ill-served by the existing cramped NMH campus which is not fit for purpose, with buildings that are almost 90 years old.

It would be a tragedy if the current impasse further delays a colocation project that was first raised back in 1998.

We acknowledge the difficult journey and huge work to date by all stakeholders and we urge that time and space be given to continue their work to find a resolution to the current impasse.

Irish Times Letters


55 thoughts on “Hospital Pass

  1. newsjustin

    “Listen to the doctors.”

    “And miss the opportunity to dress in Handmaid’s Tale outfits? Eh, no.”

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Religious orders, time and time again, have proven that they can’t be trusted. Irish history is littered with the bodies of men, women and children abused and neglected while in the care of nuns. They have no place in modern society, least of all medical care.

  2. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

    We need a full separation of church and state, including the handing over of church lands, and an end to church control of education and healthcare.

    1. newsjustin

      “Handing over of church lands”

      Compelled transfer of property from churches (or any civil society actor for that matter) to the government is 1000% not “separation of church and state.” It is the exact opposite.

      1. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

        1. All state schools to be secular schools.
        2. All public hospitals to be run exclusively by the state. No religious ethos.
        3. For the church to issue a full apology to its victims. To hand over all records regarding perpetrators and those that assisted in covering up. To hand over all personal records regarding adoptions. To pay redress.
        4. For the state to conduct a full criminal enquiry and for those found guilty to face criminal prosecution.
        5. Any bodies buried by the church illegally to be exhumed and given a proper burial. Criminal investigation into illegal burials and falsified records. Any family member who wishes to exhume the body of their loved one from a mass grave/Magdalene grave etc to bury them in a family plot be allowed to do so.
        6. Allow official defection from the Catholic Church
        7. Our constitution to be secular. Oaths to office to be secular.


        1. newsjustin

          That’s great that you’ve broadened out the conversation. Plenty in there to think about.

          But from the point of view of a healthy and vibrant democracy, I’m going to reiterate that the Government forcing or coercing anyone or any civil society group to hand over their property is a serious matter.

          1. newsjustin

            What? All land? If you want Ireland yo be like China or North Korea, fine. I respect your right to hold those views.

          2. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

            well I wouldn’t put the old dears put of their beds, I’d be happy with just state schools and hospitals

          3. Bitnboxy

            There is another issue here – it does seem a little outrageous that the state can drop 800m of taxpayer money to fund the construction and not own the land. They are building a NATIONAL Maternity hospital – key is in the name.

            Do I think that the current laws will be adhered to in terms of providing the full range of obstetric and gynaecological services? Yes but the current arrangement presents a doubt, a very out-there doubt at the moment but one that could become very relevant if political circumstances change. It is akin to the religious order jamming their foot in the door to prevent it being fully closed.

          4. Cian

            Hmm. And what about the Church forcing or coercing individuals to hand over their property?
            Indulgences haven’t gone away.

        2. U N M U T U A L

          Don’t forget to include the Wellcome Trust with regards to points 3, 4 and 5…

        3. Junkface

          +1 Janet

          The Catholic church have been evading paying the victims of its institutional abuse. Treat them like the criminal assets bureau treat gangsters. If they don’t pay up the millions they owe, take their assets to raise the money for victims.

        4. Mr. T

          Yes but instead of forcing transfer of lands – just cut them off.
          No more state funding for schools run by religious organisations. Same for hospitals, care homes etc.

          Either the religious orgs sell up, or they go it alone and be fee paying schools, private hospitals etc.

          1. Cian

            It’s not that simple. That just wouldn’t work.

            If the State said “No more state funding for schools run by religious organisations.”
            85% of children wouldn’t have a school to go back to in September. How does the state fulfil its obligation to educate the children?

            If the State said “No more state funding for hospitals run by religious organisations.” half the A&E would close overnight. People would literally die on the streets/in their beds.

          2. Johnny

            Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin was minister for children when the 2002 deal indemnifying all 18 religious congregations against any future legal actions taken against them by survivors of abuse in the institutions they ran was agreed.

            they should find a greenfield site.

        1. newsjustin

          Yes Janet. It may come as a shock to you, but in a healthy democracy we must tolerate all kinds of civil society groups we may not like or agree with. Its the basis of a healthy and vibrant democracy. I’m surprised you don’t see it like that.

          1. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

            nothing with a legacy of abuse that has yet to be properly addressed has a place in civil society, the cloak of respectability has long worn thin

          2. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

            and a healthy democracy wouldn’t be pandering to a group not voted in by the people but apparently running the kip anyway

      2. freewheeling

        For some, “separation of Church and State” actually means suppression of freedom of religion, and disallowing any visibility/influence/acknowledgment of religion in public life – i.e. a State/secular dominance over Church and religion. The emphasis is also always particularly on the Catholic faith. Never see handmaids tales outfits used in protest on Muslim treatment of women.

          1. newsjustin

            Janet, all kinds of ideas and philosophies influence public life. People have always and will always bring all sorts of notions and beliefs to bear, as well as academic rigour, to political discourse.

            What would be acceptable to you? Would you have told British christian anti-slavery campaigners to keep religion out of politics? Would you have told Martin Luther King that he really ought not mention his religion in public?

          2. newsjustin

            Good for you Janet.

            But trying to squeeze people and their “wrong” thoughts out of civic society is a poor use of your time.

          3. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

            I happen to believe people can do the right thing indeed be humane without being Christian, possibly a great deal more

          4. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

            you misunderstand, everyone is entitled to their faith, it’s when they use it as a weapon against society that is unacceptable, pushing biased agendas and expecting everyone to live by their ethos,

          5. millie bobby brownie

            Janet really gets under your skin, doesn’t she?

            I’m curious. What’s your opinion on tubal ligation? On voluntary sterilisation? It could potentially be seen as another controversial procedure which the NMH will be carrying out, as mentioned above.

          6. newsjustin

            A little, but honestly, its the simplistic “let’s take all their land” and “I’ll decide who gets a voice in this country” that sets me off.

            Janet, you’re 100% right and I agree with you re people being totally humane and completely sound without Christianity. But that’s no reason to tell someone that their point of view isn’t welcome.

            (On the topic of the NMH, it should either go to a new site or ideally the nuns should sell the site. The doctors letter above seems legit, but will never be enough for some people.)

          7. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

            at least the feeling is mutual News ;)
            seriously I don’t intend to say someone’s view is not welcome, just that it has no business shaping other’s lives based on that view/ faith, my belief in it being right or wrong is irrelevant,
            I come from a very religious background, I show every respect to those people and since I made my Communion at 16 and I am free to chose to leave it behind as do they respect that,
            I won’t be putting my children through 16 years of indoctrination yet if they find a spirituality as adults I’ll respect that,
            the scales are heavily tipped to the churches influence, that’s not healthy or respectful.

          8. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

            and my last point isn’t about choosing who gets to have a voice, Catholics, Protestant, Hindus, Muslims, etc should and will always have a voice with their vote, that’s democracy,
            ” the church ” wants to continue to have the only voice and total control and power, that’s not democracy.
            A secular society protects and benefits ALL voices.

          9. Bitnboxy

            @Janet @News It is not even healthy for the Roman church to have such a stranglehold on education and hospitals. Even the Iona “Institute” (basically a handful of cuddly folks) admit that this stranglehold means that Roman Catholic schools can’t be really RC as they are effectively state schools and adopt a lowest common denominator approach to religion. Similar to their hospitals- the state calls the shots. Can you imagine the uproar if there were a refusal by the new NMH to carry out a
            recommended tubal ligation or insert an IUD?

          10. newsjustin

            Janet, like it or not, your personal views and my personal views (and everyone’s personal views) do shape other people’s lives because we live in a society. And some of those views come from a religious context. Others come from e.g. our time in the trade union movement, our trip to South-East Asia when we were 20, our being raised by our widowed aunt who loved the arts and wanted them well funded, our feeling of grievance because we failed Leaving Cert French….

          11. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

            although those examples don’t and haven’t caused the same kind of pain, manipulation, shaming and abuse, I don’t really find them comparable

          12. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

            I’m so sorry you failed French, I give lessons on line ;) secular ones , very reasonable

          13. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

            I’d have you over there trying to argue them out of a secular state in six months or your money back

          14. newsjustin

            Listen Janet. I don’t know who you think you are, or what you think you’re doing here. But I need you to know one thing and one thing only………..

            ……I got a D in LC French and it was hard won.

            Vive la difference!

          15. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

            * disclaimer spell check does not hinder my teaching capabilities ;)

      3. Daisy Chainsaw

        Okay then, let’s remove state supports from church run hospitals and schools. Stop paying wages, remove all the equipment paid for by state funds and let the church pay fully for the upkeep of their hospitals and schools.

        1. newsjustin

          If that’s what Irish people want, I’ll support that. Start electing representatives that will pursue legislation to make it happen so.

          1. Daisy Chainsaw

            And also start charging a monthly rent for the use of state buildings.

            I wonder how long it would take for the “vow of poverty” to actually become a reality?

          2. Cian

            That is not possible.
            If the State started to charge rent to on a school building that it funded, the Church would charge rent to the State for the land.

            The only options (as I see it) are for the State to buy the school/hospitals land outright, and thus get full ownership.
            The church donates the land to the state. This could either be as part of an apology for the years of abuse, or just as a gift. If you think this is unlikely – just think – who is the church? It is the people of Ireland. Every parishioner could put pressure on their local parish priest to donate the school lands to the state.

          3. Daisy Chainsaw

            Cian, the orders won’t sell the land because that would leave them with no control. They leverage land ownership to control the property on it. St Vincents a case in point.

  3. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

    Brilliant post from Rosita Sweetman.

    The Nuns and the Hospital

    “So, the Catholic Church is the single biggest provider of healthcare in the world. This battle over Vincent’s and the new Maternity Hospital is not about a few old nuns and why we should be nice to them, it’s about the Church securing another lucrative asset into the multibillion dollar global health care business it runs.

    With terrible consequences worldwide for women.

    Nowhere in the world in hospitals on Church land are reproductive services provided that go against a ‘Catholic ethos’. Nowhere. This means: no contraception, no terminations, no morning after pill, no tubal litigations, no IVF, sometimes no Caesareans, and no vasectomies. All are forbidden by Canon Law.

    It doesn’t matter if the Sisters of Charity say they have left & gone to Fuerta Ventura. Vincent’s, and the new Maternity Hospital, will be on Church land, where Canon Law prevails. No amount of legal cleverality can knock that square peg into a round hole.

    Meanwhile the nuns dissemble. The most obvious being their claim they gifted the land to the people. Eh, no. They set up a private company and gifted it to themselves. Their second porky pie, much repeated, is they cannot provide proper patient care unless they own the land. Are they serious? Or just taking us for mugs?

    Vincent’s, originally the Earl of Meath’s townhouse in Leeson Street, was acquired by the nuns via ‘donations’ in 1835. It’s running costs and upkeep have been paid for ever since by us. It’s immune from tax as it’s a ‘charity’, but belongs, irretrievably apparently, to the nuns. The same nuns who battered unmarried mothers, sold babies, enslaved young women in laundries none of whom they’ve fully recompensed?

    The same.

    So far the nuns have been winning hands down, but they’re getting impatient. They want the lawyers in, the deeds signed, the politicians kissing ass and the ching ching of all those lovely dollars flowing into their bank accounts.

  4. Junkface

    Catholic organizations should have nothing to do with Women’s health or maternity issues. Look at what they were in control of over the last 75 years. Mother and baby homes, taking young children from mothers and selling them to USA adoptions. On principal, this should have been properly handed over to Gov’t ownership.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Don’t forget the abuse and neglect in their orphanages and “schools” where children were kept illiterate in order to make rosaries for profit.

      1. Johnny

        Don’t ever forget successive FF/FG irish governments and the FF/FG run garda,health and social welfare departments, also enabled this and turned a blind eye.

  5. phil

    Just remove the Charity status from St. Vincent’s Foundation ,Charity No. 1183. They will sell up soon after IMO, and there are plenty of historical reasons to remove their charity status .

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