The government will approve a new plan for the National Maternity Hospital on Tuesday, says Taoiseach Michéal Martin

Taoiseach Michéal Martin confirmed the government will on Tuesday approve the protracted and divisive plan to build a new National Maternity Hospital in St Vincent.

At its peak at the National Famine Memorial Ceremony on Sunday, Mr Martin said it was the government’s intention to give the project the green light.
Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly will present the memo to the Government on Tuesday.

The location of the new hospital has been the subject of bitter debate.

The new NMH will be built on land owned by the St. Vincent Health Care Group.

The project has faced significant opposition in the past due to fears that the Catholic Church could influence the hospital in performing abortions, sterilizations or IVF.

The Taoiseach said it was “the government’s intention” to sign off on the project this week.

The Indo Daily: Oh holy mess! The Vatican, St. Vincent and the new National Maternity Hospital

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“I think the health secretary will present the memo again to the government on Tuesday.

“I think there has been a good debate and I think there has been a lot of clarity in terms of the legal documents that have been released which give very clear legal guarantees.

“First of all, ownership – 300 years at 10 euros a year on lease.”

He said the new hospital’s constitution was “strong and very clear as to all legally permissible services” that would be provided.

“Then the additional powers given to the minister in the form of the golden share that he has the powers to ensure that the commitments of the new directors of the new hospital implement the hospital’s constitution.

“There are many guarantees there in relation to all the services provided.

“On the other hand, which is very important under the current circumstances, the physical conditions of this hospital are not suitable, and we need a modern hospital, and it will take time to build.”

“The newborn center is very cramped at the moment. It doesn’t do babies justice; Premature babies, especially neonatal units, are essential to their survival.

“Equally, women today and in the future deserve better physical conditions than they are currently experiencing on Holles Street.

“I believe this has the potential to become a truly modern center of excellence for women and neonatology.”

However, Sinn Féin Health spokesman David Cullinane said not a single good reason had been put forward as to why St. Vincent’s Healthcare

Group cannot transfer the NMH property to the state,

Mr Cullinane said the best way forward is for the new NMH to be built on public land, given the “enormous” amount of money the public is spending on the project.

The construction of the project is expected to cost the state around one billion euros.

Sinn Féin will table a motion this week demanding the new NMH be built on public land, and Mr Cullinane said the current proposed deal between

The state and the hospital group are “complicated and confused”.

“No good reason has been given to me, many of the opposition or healthcare activists why we cannot see the transfer of land from St Vincent’s Healthcare Group to the state, which would clear up any ambiguity that currently exists,” Mr Cullinane told the programme This Week by RTÉ.

Mr Cullinane said due to “legal ambiguities” regarding the lease the State would have over the land on which the NMH would be built, “we need to get that 100 per cent right”.

“I don’t think it goes beyond us [The Dáil] and you [St Vincent’s] to get to a point where we have full public ownership, to remove all ambiguity,” Mr Cullinane told RTÉ’s This Week. The government will approve a new plan for the National Maternity Hospital on Tuesday, says Taoiseach Michéal Martin

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