HSE can 'force sale' of NMH site under framework - Cullinane

The Taoiseach says the 300 year leasing arrangement amounts to ownership
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

22.05 4 May 2022

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HSE can 'force sale' of NMH si...

HSE can 'force sale' of NMH site under framework - Cullinane

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

22.05 4 May 2022

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The Health Service Executive (HSE) can force the sale of the National Maternity Hospital site under its existing agreement.

That's according to Sinn Féin's health spokesperson David Cullinane, who was speaking as fallout continues over the facility.

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has argued the 300 year leasing arrangement on the site at St Vincent's amounts to ownership of the site and hospital.


Meanwhile it has been confirmed Health Minister Stephen Donnelly will appear before the Oireachtas Health Committee next Wednesday to answer questions on the planned relocation.

Deputy Cullinane told The Hard Shoulder this has been made unnecessarily complicated.

"This could have been resolved very, very easily by the Sisters of Charity essentially gifting the land to the State.

"One of the elements of the legal framework that has been agreed is that there is an option agreement, where the HSE can force the sale of the hospital site if a range of services are not offered.

"So how is it the case that on the one hand we're being told 'It wasn't as simple as that - they could not gift the land for potentially legal reasons'.

"But there's a clause where the HSE can essentially force the sale of the land under certain circumstances.

"So that doesn't make sense.

"And I think it would have been far better for everybody involved, given that this hospital will cost up to a billion euro, that the State would own the land that the hospital was built on".

He claims this would be better than a "convoluted legal framework where there are genuine questions being asked in relation to not just ownership but governance".

And Deputy Cullinane says he wants this hospital built as soon as possible.

"I don't want it to drag on for months, I think that we have to obviously have the meeting of the Health Committee - let's see what comes out of that.

"There may well be recommendations then that the Health Committee makes to the Minister to try and get more changes.

"I don't want his project to be held up - I want the Maternity Hospital to be built as quickly as possible.

"But I don't believe it's unreasonable to ask for a number of weeks where we can properly scrutinise the framework which has been agreed".

HSE can 'force sale' of NMH site under framework - Cullinane

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'Vatican-approved company'

Earlier, the Governor of the National Maternity Hospital hit out at ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital by a "private, Vatican-approved company".

Dr Peter Boylan also said there was "no way" a Health Minister can guarantee all maternity care - including abortions - will go ahead at the new facility.

"There's no reason why the new hospital should be owned by a private, Vatican-approved company where the shareholders are committed to upholding the Catholic values of the Sisters of Charity.

"And they're on record as having said that.

"So there's absolutely no reason why the State should spend a billion on a new hospital, and then hand it over to a private company to run".

And Dr Boylan said he had no confidence in guarantees from Minister Donnelly.

"No Minister for Health can guarantee that anything will happen in any individual hospital.

"The Minister couldn't even get maternity units to agree to let their partners in when they were giving birth.

"And it's completely inappropriate that a Minister for Health, any Minister for Health, should determine what particular clinical events take place in a hospital.

"He's not qualified to make any of those determinations", Dr Boylan said.

Main image: Sinn Fein TD David Cullinane speaking on the Plinth outside Leinster House in November 2021. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov /

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Cullinane Health Service Executive Micheál Martin NMH Site National Maternity Hospital Oireachtas Health Committee Stephen Donnelly The Hard Shoulder

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