Why Are The Sisters Of Charity Involved In The Running Of The New National Maternity Hospital?

Why are the Sisters of Charity involved in the running of the new National Maternity Hospital?⠀Here’s the background of the situation.⠀

The new National Maternity Hospital is long in the works, to be built on the grounds of the current St Vincent’s hospital; a process which has so far taken 7 years.⠀

St Vincent’s hospital is controlled by the Sisters of Charity. Original concerns over their control of the new Maternity Hospital forced them to step aside from the governance of the St Vincents group and state that the grounds for the new hospital were being “Gifted” to the Irish people. But this is not true.⠀

The land wasn’t gifted to the Irish people, it was gifted to a legal entity called St Vincent’s Healthcare Group – set up BY St Vincent’s Group (Sisters of Charity) and largely controlled by them.⠀The land was leased to the new entity originally for 99, then for 150 years; but the St Vincents group retained ownership and could in theory use the land bank to lease, sell mortgage and leverage as an asset.⠀

Campaigners , including Peter Boylan raised doubts about the new corporate structure and about whether the Catholic ethos of St Vincents could allow for a fully secular hospital.⠀The constitution of both the original St Vincent’s group and the new entity set up to run the hospital are very similar and the ethos of both remains catholic and based on the original Mary Aitken head /Sisters of Charity constitution.

Whether it’s to try to delay or interfere with the provision of abortion and other services is unclear. It may have as much to do with the corporate needs of the St Vincents.⠀Like a lot of the religious orders involved in health/education from Bon Secures to Edmund Rice , they are largely now corporate entities as concerned with their profit margins as they are with their religious ethos.⠀

People Before Profit say there is no room for the interest of private religious bodies in delivery of health care services to women and children.⠀We will be protesting along with others tomorrow at the Dáil at 1pm.

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