The Cabinet has postponed the signing of the National Maternity Hospital by two weeks.
abinet ministers were due to sign the deal today which would see the hospital move from its current location on Holles St to St Vincent’s.
However, the senior ministers decided to instead “take note” of the latest developments on the NMH and allow them to be considered by the Oireachtas Health Committee.
Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly will also attend the committee, it was agreed.
In two weeks it goes back to the cabinet.
Legal agreements between the three parties involved in the transaction, the Sisters of Charity, St Vincent Holdings and the Government are expected to be released.
Former Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was “genuinely pleased” that “safeguards” were in place for the new maternity hospital and said the delay in developing the new hospital had been far too long.
Speaking before Cabinet, Mr Martin said the deal included additional “safeguards” than the Mulvey deal, which was signed in 2016.
“There are various other important safeguards in place to ensure that what is legally permissible in the state is being provided in terms of services today and in the future,” he said.
He said he was “very, very concerned” about the pressure Holles Street is currently facing.
“The delay was far too long.
“The existing hospital facilities are not fit for purpose, do not serve women well today in my opinion, the staff is doing everything they can, but within the physical conditions of the hospital, we need a new model facility,” said Mr. Martin.
The 299-year lease for the €800 million hospital follows years of controversy over the Sisters of Charity’s ownership of the hospital.
According to a government source, all legally permitted procedures are being performed at the hospital after concerns were raised that certain procedures could not be performed at the hospital if it were still owned by the sisters.
But opposition politicians have urged the government to cease fire on the hospital’s signing before it can be properly inspected by the Oireachtas.
Social Democrat Vice-Chairman Róisín Shortall said there were still a number of questions to be answered in connection with the deal, including the details known about St Vatican about the company.
She also asked Minister Donnelly to publish the legal framework underlying the deal.
“Despite the length of time this controversy has dragged on — nearly a decade — there has been little to no public scrutiny of the deal, the apparent terms of which have changed at various stages of this process,” she said.
“Cabinet should not approve the new National Maternity Hospital without Oireachta’s review of the agreed legal framework,” said Sinn Féin health spokesman David Cullinane.
“We cannot expect to take a leap of faith without proper verification. Ownership of the property and the hospital are crucial issues.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/cabinet-delays-signing-off-on-new-maternity-hospital-41611874.html The Cabinet is delaying the signing of the new maternity hospital