News & Media

NMH site must be CPOed within three months if negotiations fail

22 June 2021

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Northern Ireland
  • Kelly called for CPO of site at St Vincent’s in 2017.

Labour Leader and spokesperson on Health Alan Kelly has called on Government to commit to a rigid timeline to resolving the long running saga over the new National Maternity Hospital, ensuring that the hospital will be built on public land.

Speaking today, Deputy Kelly said if negotiations have not concluded within three months, the Government must then commit to a compulsory purchase order of the land.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Back in April 2017 I first called for the land that the new maternity hospital would be built on to be CPOed. It is our long-established position that the hospital must be owned by the people of Ireland and located on state owned land.

“We note now that the Government has recommenced negotiations with the Sisters of Charity about the site. If these negotiations are not completed within three months, then the State has no choice but to CPO the land and I would urge the government to set a hard deadline on that.

“The public need clarity on what’s going on with the new maternity hospital once and for all. In an effort to achieve transparency, my colleague Senator Ivana Bacik has submitted an FOI request for all correspondence in relation to the site of the new maternity hospital so that we can get the full picture of what has happened over the last number of years. I would call again on the Minister to release all that documentation.

“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.

“Labour are staunchly opposed to any hospital being influenced by any religious ethos. Over four years on since I first raised this at our national conference in an emergency motion it is incomprehensible why it hasn’t been comprehensively addressed.

“This is a vital issue for women and their families. The new maternity hospital must have a secular charter, unfettered by any religious doctrine.

“The Government needs to sort this out for the women of Ireland once and for all. In a modern Ireland the hospital must be owned by the people of Ireland who will pay for its construction. It must be built on publicly owned land. Anything else is not acceptable. We need to end the heel dragging on this issue. It’s time to put the women of Ireland first. It’s time to ensure that either the land is given over to the State – with no issues – or we CPO it.”