herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Holles Street board backs new maternity hospital on nuns' site

Lord Mayor Brendan Carr
Lord Mayor Brendan Carr

The controversial plan to build a new €300m National Maternity Hospital, which is owned by the Sisters of Charity, has been re-endorsed by the board of Holles Street.

The majority decision to back the proposal, despite strong public opposition and heated debate, was taken at a four-hour board meeting last night.

Former master and board member Dr Peter Boylan, who earlier this week was asked by text message to resign over his criticism of the project, did not step down.

No request was made by other members of the board to ask him to resign at the meeting.

Dr Boylan was one of three members, along with Dublin Lord Mayor Brendan Carr and Sinn Fein councillor Michael Mac Donncha, to vote against the re-endorsement.

The new maternity hospital is due to be built at the St Vincent's Hospital campus at Elm Park on a site owned by the Sisters of Charity, which controls the St Vincent's Healthcare Group.

The Holles Street board's deputy chairman, Nicholas Kearns, flanked by hospital master Dr Rhona Mahony, said after the meeting that the board welcomed the statement from St Vincent's Healthcare Group on Tuesday, saying all services that are legal would be available in the new hospital.

It said the agreement between the hospitals "provides that the clinical, financial and operational independence of the new national maternity hospital at Elm Park shall be enshrined in its memorandum and articles of association and all related legal agreements".

Disappointed

The board of St Vincent's Healthcare Group will meet today to review its involvement but it is highly unlikely to pull out of the deal.

"I didn't support the statement," Mr Carr, a Labour councillor, said after last night's meeting.

"I was very disappointed that they didn't seem to be cognisant of the serious concerns the people have, serious concerns of €300m of public money being put into the development.

"There didn't seem to be any attempt or any willingness at all for the majority of the members of the board to try and take that on board.

"This was all about reaffirming a decision that was made last November which has caused this problem in the first place," he added.

Councillor Mac Donncha said it was a lengthy meeting and a "very intense" discussion was had on the situation in terms of the agreement and where that stood.

"I voted against that re-endorsement because I still have concerns, particularly because of major developments in the past week," he said.

"The issue of ownership, which is of huge public concern, was not addressed."

He called on Health Minister Simon Harris to consider a compulsory purchase order for the site.

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