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25 May 2022

Concern over maternity hospital plans 'comprehensively addressed', says Taoiseach

Concern over maternity hospital plans 'comprehensively addressed', says Taoiseach

Micheál Martin has said the Government will be “pressing ahead” with the relocation of the National Maternity Hospital to the St Vincent’s site, despite concerns raised in recent weeks. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, the Taoiseach said concerns from campaigners had been “comprehensively addressed”.

“We’ve published seven documents now, which was substantive, and which really do address the issues that were raised earlier about control.

“The new hospital will be more secular in governance than the existing hospital has been in its history.”

He said the HSE operating licence and clauses five and nine of the hospital’s constitution outline how the directors of the hospital are “obliged to carry out all legal services permissible within the state” at the new site.

Controversy has continued over the ownership structure proposed for the new hospital building, which is to be co-located with St Vincent’s Hospital on its Elm Park site.

Last week, Cabinet stalled the proposal until next week to allow for documents about ownership and governance arrangements to be published, and to allow Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to appear before the Oireachtas Health Committee this week to address lingering concerns.

The Taoiseach and Health Minister have argued that a 299-year lease at €10 a year effectively amounts to public ownership of the land, and midwives and pregnant women cannot wait any longer for new facilities.

The current NMH building at Holles Street in Dublin city centre is 130 years old, and its facilities have been described as cramped and not fit for purpose.

Opposition TDs and campaigners have raised concerns about the complex ownership structure of the new hospital site, and questioned why the land cannot be gifted, bought, or made a compulsory purchase by the state.

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