The government is accused of trying to shut down the debate on LMWH

Outraged opposition TDs will today accuse the government of trying to forestall public debate over ownership of the land on which the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) is to be built.

The Government last week announced a two-week pause to allow the public to consider a stack of legal documents released in relation to proposed co-accommodation on the grounds of St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

But yesterday both the Taoiseach and the health minister said the government will go ahead with the move despite only a week having passed for the alleged consultation.

Angry Sinn Féin health spokesman David Cullinane said so Irish Independent: “The Taoiseach told us that the Cabinet had put a decision on the NMH on hold to allow for review by the Oireachtas.

“Concerns about hospital property are not a red herring.

“But it seems that the government plans to present their plans as a fait accompli and that is wrong.

“We must have fair and reasonable control – and not window dressing.”

Richard Boyd Barrett of Solidarity/People Before Profit will join the criticism in the Dáil today.

He, too, complained about the government’s supposedly early termination of the debate.

“The concerns and objections of many to this deal should not be dismissed so easily or labeled as disinformation,” he said.

“Big questions remain about the terms of the contract and in particular the phrase ‘clinically appropriate’ that appears in the legal documents. What does it mean exactly?

“Then there remains the lingering and unanswered question of why the St. Vincent’s Hospital Group insists on this labyrinthine ownership structure for a publicly funded and publicly built hospital.”

Mr Boyd Barrett also attacked Taoiseach and Minister Stephen Donnelly’s alleged suggestion that delays in the facility needed were caused by objections rather than “the Sisters, the St Vincent Health Group and the State”.

He added, “It’s ironic that now someone would try to put the blame on those asking legitimate questions.”

But the health secretary said yesterday: “We’ve been talking about this for too long.”

Mr Donnelly said if the state were forced to start over at a different site there could be no guarantee of co-location and he said that would add “10 to 15 years” to the completion time.

He said the phrase “clinically appropriate” was not required by the SVHG but was there to protect the maternity hospital in its own decision making.

As for the property, he said he would quote “chapters and verses” from the new hospital’s constitution – as Mr Martin went on to do Tomorrow Irelandboth men referring to the same provisions.

Clause 3 states that the main purpose of the hospital is “the promotion and delivery of all clinically appropriate and legally permissible health services through a maternity, gynaecology, obstetrics and neonatal hospital”.

Clause five states that the powers of the hospital “shall be exercised in such a manner as to preserve the hospital’s independence and autonomy in all clinical and operational matters.”

Mr. Donnelly stressed, “The new LMWH will be clinically and operationally fully independent.” The government is accused of trying to shut down the debate on LMWH

Fry Electronics Team

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