Religious sisters "always intended" to give up maternity hospital ownership

Kieran Mulvey says the final deal on the facility "will meet public support"

Religious sisters "always intended" to give up maternity hospital ownership

Kieran Mulvey

The Religious Sisters of Charity always intended to relinquish involvement in the new National Maternity Hospital, according to the man who negotiated the deal.

The former chairman of the Workplace Relations Commission Kieran Mulvey was appointed to mediate in a dispute between St Vincent’s Hospital and Holles Street before the relocation was agreed.

Following huge public outcry over the ownership of the new facility, the religious order announced that it would give its majority shareholding in the St Vincent's Healthcare Group (SVHG).

The site the new facility is to be built on is owned by SVHG.

Yates on Sunday

Speaking to Newstalk's Yates on Sunday show this morning, Mr Mulvey said the sisters were planning to move away from ownership of the facility before the outcry.

“[The controversy] precipitated a more rapid move to that but in terms of the sisters of charity, they were already moving that way for a number of reasons and moving to a different vocation in terms of what they were going to provide,” he said.

“They did not see themselves in future running a maternity hospital and I think some of the most outrageous statements made about them in terms of what was happening was unfair and improper at the time.

“But look that’s past; I think we will have a wonderful new maternity hospital. It is desperately needed and it will be state of the art.”

Ownership

The Department of Health and the hospital group are currently finalising a deal that will clarify the ownership and governance of the hospital moving forward.

Mr Mulvey said he is not at liberty to go into detail regarding the deal but insisted he is “very confident” that an agreement will be published before the end of the summer.

He said he is very confident that the agreement will allay public and political concerns – and meet public support.

“I think the public money will be fully protected and I think the future arrangements for the ownership of the hospital will be clarified to a degree and to an extent that the concerns expressed will be allayed,” he said.

You can listen back to Kieran Mulvey’s big interview with Newstalk’s Ivan Yates here: