Maternity hospital plan back on track

Plans for a new maternity hospital are back on track after the board of Holles Street overwhelmingly voted in favour of re-endorsing the deal struck last November that paved the way for its transfer to the campus of St Vincent’s University Hospital at Elm Park.

Maternity hospital plan back on track

Three board members voted against the deal including former Holles Street Master Dr Peter Boylan, who has publicly condemned the proposed move and Sinn Féin Councillor Micheal MacDonncha who confirmed he reversed his position having voted in favour last November.

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Brendan Carr, also voted against. However with the exception of Dr Boylan, all other clinician members of the board are understood to have voted in favour. Dr Boylan abstained from the November vote.

The meeting, described as “tense” included an explanation from the board’s deputy chair Nicholas Kearns as to why he and current Master Rhona Mahony had called on Dr Boylan to resign at the weekend. Mr Kearns told the board the request was not down to Dr Boylan expressing an opinion but because of his behaviour — that if he wanted to campaign publicly against the board decision to endorse the deal, he should have stepped down.

Mr MacDonncha said there was no proposal before the board last night to seek Dr Boylan’s resignation and that “he remains a board member”.

He said the issue of Dr Boylan speaking out had been discussed and “a number of people expressed the view that he was entitled to speak out”. Mr MacDonncha said he had now voted against endorsing the November agreement between the board of Holles Street and St Vincent’s Healthcare Group (SVHG) because he remained unconvinced about the issue of ownership.

Under the agreement, the Sisters of Charity, who are sole shareholders in SVHG, will have ownership of the hospital. This has raised concerns over whether the hospital will have a Catholic ethos which would impact on certain procedures.

Mr Kearns read a statement following the meeting last night in which he said the board welcomed yesterday’s statement from SVHG which said any procedure performed in accordance with the law of the land could be conducted at the hospital and that it would be clinically independent and free from religious distinction.

Mr Kearns said the board had “re-endorsed its commitment to the agreement mediated by Kieran Mulvey”.

Dr Mahony told the board the project was “on track” and described the SVHG statement as “very positive”.

Mr Carr, who did not attend any Holles Street board meetings this year until last night, said Dr Boylan spoke eloquently and passionately.

“He fully supports the hospital going to Vincent’s, he fully supports there should be a hospital in Vincent’s as we all do.

“But he has concerns that there is no particular agreement at the moment, legal agreement. Planning applications are going through and no one has yet seen the final agreement on what we are going to go into.”

Mr Carr said he would be “reconsidering my position on that board” because “it was clear to me this evening on that board that the views of the public were not going to be taken into consideration”.

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