Simon Harris to meet hospital boards over national maternity hospital standoff

Health Minister Simon Harris is due to meet the boards of St Vincent’s Hospital and Holles Street over the national maternity hospital standoff this week amid ongoing public anger over the location of the facility.

He said the voices of those who protested over the issue on Sunday have been heard and ownership of the hospital is “on the table”.

Speaking to reporters at an organ donation launch in Dublin, Mr Harris said he understands the anger of almost 2,000 people who protested in the capital at the weekend calling for the Sisters of Charity to have no role in the new hospital and to gift the site to the State.

Saying he has “heard the people very clearly”, Mr Harris said it is understandable the public wants ownership of the new facility and that the issue will be raised at meetings with the two hospitals’ boards this week.

“The issue of ownership is one that’s on the table, I expect my department to be meeting with them this week,” he said. 

Mr Harris also repeated his previous view that the new national maternity hospital must be “clinically independent” and free of any influence by “religious doctrine”.

He said it is also understandable that the public wants to see a “broader conversation” on the ownership of voluntary hospitals and he will bring forward proposals on this in the coming weeks.

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