Tag Archives: National Maternity Hospital

Green Party TDs Patrick Costello (top) Neasa Hourigan (above with Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan) have announced they  will break ranks with the Government to vote in favour of a Sinn Féin motion on the National Maternity Hospital this evening in the dail.

This afternoon.

This afternoon.

Via RTE News::

Green Party TD Patrick Costello has confirmed that he will vote in favour of Sinn Féin’s motion on the National Maternity Hospital.

The Dáil will vote on the motion later tonight, after People Before Profit deputy Richard Boyd Barrett confirmed his colleagues would facilitate it.

Mr Costello’s party colleague Neasa Hourigan yesterday said she would also break ranks with the Government.


on Today with Claire Byrne.

The Tánaiste said there were “a lot of myths and misinformation” around the project that were able to be dispelled during the two-week delay in confirming the hospital would proceed, namely a clear definition to the term “clinically appropriate”.

Mr Varadkar said he understood people’s concerns around ownership of the land and defended the 299-year lease as ownership.

The perfect can be the enemy of the very, very good. This is a very, very good arrangement. We do own the hospital, we own the bricks and mortar and we have a 300-year leasehold title to the land, and that is ownership,” he said.

The Tánaiste said he also understood people’s concerns given the country’s history with institutional abuse and the church’s influence over healthcare.

Mr Varadkar said what was happening was two hospitals – Holles Street and St Vincent’s – that are currently under Catholic influence are being secularised.

You would have the impression from some people, that the hospital as being gifted to the nuns. That is just fake news,” he said.

Costello joins Hourigan in support of NMH motion (RTE)


This morning.

Dublin Castle, Dublin  2

Speaking on his way into Cabinet, the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan (above), said he believes the plan to relocate the National Maternity Hospital will be agreed today.

Via RTÉ News:

He was asked about the concerns raised by his Green Party colleague Neasa Hourigan last night.

The Dublin Central TD said she continued to have “heartfelt and genuine concern around the pushing through of this deal”.

Ms Hourigan said the Cabinet should “pause this decision for further scrutiny” because “all transactions are built on trust … trust that doesn’t exist right now”.

She added: “I repeat again the need to release all relevant, legal documents related to share transfers from one entity to the other and to either remove ‘clinically appropriate’, clarify it or add rights based language to the documents to protect those receiving services.

Minister Ryan said he was aware of Ms Hourigan’s concerns but there would be no change to the term ‘clinically appropriate’. It was in the legal documents and clarity had been given on it, he said.

Ryan expects Cabinet to agree hospital relocation today (RTE)


This morning.

Dublin Castle, Dublin 2.

Sam Boal/RollingNews

This afternoon.

Watch live here.


The Sisters of Charity are the sole shareholders of the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group which the Department of Health said will be the “sole owner of the new hospital” which is to be built on a site at Elm Park, Dublin 4

This morning.

Letter from St Vincents Hospital Group to the Oireachtas Health Committee who are meeting this afternoon to discuss the National Maternity Hospital relocation.



Róisín Shortall

…this morning.

Social Democrats Health Spokesperson Róisín Shortall said:

“The cabinet must not sign off on the national maternity hospital deal tomorrow when a number of significant questions remain unanswered

“Those questions are…”

SVHG Financial Position:

“SVHG previously used the State-funded public hospital as collateral to develop its private hospital and commercial car park. It did this without the knowledge of the State. A clause in the draft lease raises questions about whether SVHG would be able to do this again – and take out finance using the national maternity hospital site and hospital as collateral. This is particularly concerning given it must shortly refinance loans it used to construct its private hospital.”

Vatican Permission:

“We know that the Vatican had to give permission to the Religious Sisters of Charity to dispose of its shareholding in SVHG. However, the conditions attached to that disposal have never been disclosed. In fact, the government has stated that nobody on the State side ever even asked to see the Vatican documents assenting to this disposal. Why not?

Clinically Appropriate:

“There is now broad agreement, even among those who support this project, that the term clinically appropriate is vague and open to misinterpretation. Despite this, there is a marked reluctance to define this term in the legal documents. Instead, SVHG has provided a legally inert letter of comfort to the government while Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has offered to define the term in a further legally inert letter to the Health Committee. Why is there such reluctance to define this crucial term in the only place that matters – the legal agreements, which have not been entered into yet?”


“The Sisters of Charity have now been indemnified by SVHG – the proposed landlords of the new national maternity hospital. However, the terms of that indemnity deal have never been published. We have no idea how extensive that indemnity is or what the implications for the taxpayer may be – given the new national maternity hospital will be part of St Vincent’s Holdings, which owns SVHG.”

Business Case:

“The cabinet is reportedly intent on signing off on this deal tomorrow – before the business case for the hospital has even been approved. Why is there such an unseemly rush to push this deal through cabinet, when the Department of Public Expenditure has yet to approve the business case for the new hospital and we have no indication of how long that process will take?”


Earlier: Boylan Point

Anthony Sheridan: Finlay’s Casebook



Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Former Master of Holles Street Dr Peter Boylan (above left) addresses protesters at a National Maternity Hospital protest rally outside the Dail (Leinster House). The ownership of the site by the Religious Sisters of Charity has led to concerns  about the influence of Catholic ethos.

Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews


Committee hearing to discuss planned NMH move (RTE)

This afternoon.



From top: Dr Peter Boylan; Dr Jennifer Walsh, Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist at The National Maternity Hospital, and Master of the National Maternity Hospital Professor Shane Higgins

This morning.

Holles Street, Dublin 2.

Via Independent.ie:

The National Maternity Hospital would be open to removing or redefining the phrase “clinically appropriate” from documents regulating the new hospital.

Professor Shane Higgins, master of the existing hospital on Holles St, said that “having seen how much upset and concern it does cause, we would be open to defining it or having it removed.”


Prof Higgins said that he did not understand concerns about the new hospital being on a leasehold. He said many other buildings that received significant public investment like the Mansion House and the new Central Bank were also on a leasehold as the new NMH will be.


…yesterday, former Master Dr Peter Boylan told the Oireachtas health Committee:

“Vatican permission was conditional on the Sisters observing certain specified canon laws. The St Vincent’s companies bind them to uphold the values of Mother Mary Aikenhead, the founder of the order.

“The concern about Catholic ethos is too acute to proceed unless and until there is full scrutiny of all correspondence between Ireland and Rome.

“The Government should directly ask the new owners of St Vincent’s Holdings – Dr David Brophy, Professor Michael Keane and Sharen McCabe – why they cannot gift, as the Sisters of Charity said they would in 2017, or sell the land to the State,” he added.

“Specifically, do the conditions set down by the Vatican preclude St Vincent’s Holdings from gifting or selling the land?

“Prior agreement on the services must include a specified list of procedures including but not limited to abortion, elective sterilisation, assisted fertility and gender realignment surgery, and any procedure that becomes legal in the future.”

This morning, Prof Higgins responded:

“[Dr Boylan] was a highly respected clinician for his entire career, but I don’t understand the vitriol of the opposition.”

National Maternity Hospital open to removing phrase ‘clinically appropriate’ from new hospital’s regulation documents (Independent.ie)

Yesterday: Release Vatican correspondence before new National Maternity Hospital can be built, former master Peter Boylan says (Independent.ie)


Last night/this morning.



This evening.


This morning.

Oireachtas Health Committee.

Via RTÉ News:

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has said there is no mechanism for any religious involvement, now or in the future, in either the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group or the New National Maternity Hospital.

….Committee members this morning will also have a statement from HSE board members Professor Deirdre Madden and Dr Sarah McLoughlin, who argue the hospital should be built on State-owned land, to ensure the separation of Church and State, and why they retain concerns about clinical independence.

Donnelly faces renewed questioning over National Maternity Hospital (RTE)


This afternoon.

Sinn Fein president Mary Louy McDonald described the proposed ownership structure as “convoluted and messy” and contended that it enabled the Saint Vincent’s Hospital Group to use the value of the land as “leverage” for future financial transactions.

The Sinn Féin leader said the leasing agreement for 299 years “does not amount to public ownership”.

In reply, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that suggesting a 299 year lease does not equate to State ownership is “being dishonest”, adding: “There is only so much nonsense that can be accommodated here.”

He added:

“It’s not our land, never was our land, it’s a gift essentially at a tenner a year for 300 years…”

Sinn Féin calls for State ownership of new national maternity hospital land (RTE)


This morning.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has described concerns over the ownership of the site of new National Maternity Hospital as “a red herring”.

Via RTÉ News:

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Martin said the co-location idea with St Vincent’s University Hospital was something that was developed nearly 20 years ago by expertise saying that maternity hospitals and neo-natal care units in the future should be co-located with major tertiary hospitals.

Asked about concerns expressed over ownership structures and full services being offered, the Taoiseach said these have been “comprehensively addressed“.


Mr Martin said two clauses in the constitution of the new hospital oblige the directors to carry out all legal services permissible within the State.

He added: “…also the Minster [for Health] can direct them to so do and they must comply, and then you look at the operating license which the Health Service Executive will be giving to this hospital, which again will be obliging the hospital to carry out all legal services permissible in the State“.

He said the ownership of the hospital is clear and the Government will be pressing ahead with it.

NMH ownership concerns ‘a red herring’ – Martin (RTE)



This morning.

Dail Eireann.




The Sisters of Charity are the shareholders of the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group which the Department of Health said will be the “sole owner of the new hospital” which is planned to be built at the St Vincent’s Hospital site at Elm Park, Dublin 4

This morning.

Via Irish Times:

The Government will not consider any changes to the structure or governance of the new National Maternity Hospital in the coming weeks, despite Opposition concerns about the ownership of the site and potential religious influence.

Government will not reopen National Maternity Hospital deal (Irish Times)


…via solicitor Simon McGarr in The Gist (full article at link below)

The first thing to say is that the papers released [on Tuesday night] represent only part of the documents constituting this deal. They are missing the documents which govern and control the company which the nuns have set up and transferred their shareholding to.

Under canon law, this transfer required the approval of the Vatican and is subject to whatever conditions were set by the Vatican to proceed. The Minister does not appear to know what those rules are, telling the Irish Times

“I guess you’d have to talk to the Vatican about that. We don’t have any such documents.”

In fact, the state has been kept so in the dark on the matter that Mason, Hayes and Curran, the solicitors working for Holles Street Hospital, have a footnote at page 3 of the Co-Ordination Agreement meekly asking “MHC Note: Can you clarify whether any third party consents/approvals or additional steps are required in advance of the ability of SVHG to grant the Lease.” This seems like something of a loose end to leave unresolved when you’re bringing a supposedly oven-ready deal to cabinet.

The papers released also lack basic elements on their own account- the Operating Licence is missing the Facility Operations Agreement, which is meant to be attached as a Schedule and the Lease is missing the maps and Annexes which would show the parts of the St Vincent’s campus the current hospital management would control and which parts would actually be under the control of the new hospital’s management. Those maps are also missing from the various option agreements.

This last point is particularly interesting in the light of the eye-opening clause of the Lease which commits that a portion of the land and/or the building being leased is still going to be left in control of the nuns’ new vehicle…(more at link below)

The Gist: The Maternity Hospital’s Difficult Birth (Simon McGarr, The Gist)