Health Minister called on to clarify governance of new National Maternity Hospital

Health Minister called on to clarify governance of new National Maternity Hospital
Stephen Donnelly

Fianna Fáil's Stephen Donnelly is calling on the Health Minister to clarify the governance of the National Maternity Hospital (NMH).

The party's spokesperson for health made the call after Dr Peter Boylan claimed the new hospital in Dublin is still under religious control.

Speaking to RTÉ's Marian Finunace show, Dr Boylan said the Sisters of Charity - who own the site - have not yet been given permission by the Vatican to change status of the site to secular.

Dr Boylan told the show that if the NMH is built and the issue is not resolved, it would prevent procedures like IVF, abortions and vasectomies going ahead.

Mr Donnelly said the NMH needs to be state-run if it is built by the state.

"We have had repeated assurances from Government that the new maternity hospital on the site at St Vincent's would be fully independent clinically," he said.

"That is absolutely essential. There can be no question whatsoever of a state-built, state-owned, state-run, state-funded facility having to comply with canon law."

Mr Donnolly added in a statement: "If Dr Boylan is correct, then Minister Harris’s repeated statements to the Dáil are incorrect.

"There can be no question about it, the State is building this hospital and the State should have full control over the governance of this hospital – it’s that simple.

"If the Vatican refuses to relinquish control, then we may have to go back to the drawing board because under no circumstances can canon law dictate the medical services available to women in Ireland.

"I will be bringing this matter before the Health Committee and asking for a full review of what the current status is with regards the NMH."

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