The Government has “capitulated” to the Catholic Church over the issue of ownership of the site of the new National Maternity Hospital, a former master of the hospital has said.
The hospital is due to be built on the site of St Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin’s Elm Park. The land is currently owned by the Religious Sisters of Charity order, who are gifting the land to the state for the development.
According to the Irish Times, the Irish Government will lease the land for the next 299 years and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has obtained guarantees that procedures that contradict Catholic teaching, such as abortion or IVF, will be allowed.
However, Dr Peter Boylan, a former Master of the hospital, told The Anton Savage Show that he was unimpressed with the Tánaiste’s assurances:
“Well, how can he [Leo Varadkar] possibly give a guarantee about that? He won’t be in the hospital, he won’t be on the board.
“And even if he was on the board, he’d just be one person. Nobody can guarantee clinical independence and that all legal procedures will be provided.”
Dr Boylan continued:
“If this goes ahead in its present [form], the state will once more have capitulated to the Catholic Church and once more it will be women who suffer as a consequence of that capitulation.
“We’ve had enough of that and women in Ireland have had enough of that. It’s time now for complete independence with state ownership of the land.
“But in particular not owned by the successor organisation to the Religious Sisters of Charity. Anybody who thinks that the Vatican would approve that the successor organisation would own the land and allow procedures directly contradictory to Catholic teaching to go ahead is really living in cloud cuckoo land.”
Main image: A sign welcomes people to a maternity unit. Picture by: PA