Bacik calls for clarity on State attempts to purchase site of new maternity hospital
19 June 2021
Spokesperson on the Enviroment and Climate; Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Labour Senator Ivana Bacik has called for all correspondence to be published regarding the proposed purchase of site of the new National Maternity Hospital for clarity on the matter. In light of the huge public concern, Senator Bacik said the public need clarity and transparency, and right now there are more questions than answers.
Senator Bacik said:
"The public need clarity on this issue once and for all. The Minister for Health should publish all correspondence relating to the potential purchase, or otherwise, of the new National Maternity Hospital. We need to get an understanding of what offers were made and where issues arose. We need to end this ‘he said she said’ surmising and get answers.
“The Department of Health, Sisters of Charity and St Vincent’s must be fully transparent about any potential purchase of the site by the State. We need clarity on the matter once and for all, and the only way of getting this for sure is if the correspondence is published.
“Unless this hospital is built on State-owned land, concerns remain that a Catholic religious ethos will hold influence over the healthcare that the hospital will offer to women. The new maternity hospital should have a secular charter, unfettered by any religious doctrine. I remain concerned that the governance arrangements currently proposed will still allow for the influence of Catholic ethos on the type of care provided to patients.
“Labour has been staunchly opposed to the involvement of a religious order in the running of the new National Maternity Hospital since news of the proposal first emerged, and we have long argued that a hospital built and paid for by the State must remain in public ownership.
“It is wholly inappropriate that the Catholic Church would retain any influence over decisions relating to women and our healthcare. We need to ensure that Ireland is a truly secular and pluralist society, a true republic in which the church and State are separated.
“It’s truly extraordinary that we have allowed this issue to get to this point. The public will not be satisfied until we get full transparency and detail about what offers have, or have not, been made. The National Maternity Hospital must be owned by the state nothing else will do."