Why can’t the Government get the new National Maternity Hospital over the line?

Earlier this week, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly arrived at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting prepared to finally sign off on the new National Maternity Hospital deal.

The relocation of the hospital from its current location at Holles Street in Dublin 2 to the St Vincent’s Hospital campus in Dublin 4 has been in the works since at least 2013.

The Minister arrived at Tuesday’s meeting with a memo proposing that the State lease the site for the new hospital for 299 years from a company with a charitable status – the recently established St Vincent’s Holdings CLG.

However, some Ministers immediately pushed back, complaining that the approval of the decision was being rushed. And campaigners and Opposition TDs raised concerns about the ownership of the land and the influence of Catholic ethos in the new hospital.

The development of a new maternity hospital has been “beset by delays and complications and arguments and rows” since discussions began nearly a decade ago, political correspondent Jennifer Bray told the In the News podcast.

And all these complications and delays center around “governance, ownership and religious ethos or perception of religious ethos”, she said.

The Religious Sisters of Charity says it will have no further involvement in the project, while hospital staff from Holles Street and St Vincent’s representatives say every procedure available in the State will be available to women at the new hospital.

So then, what’s the problem?

What impact, if any, does all this have on the procedures and health services that will be available to women once the new maternity hospital finally opens?

And who or what exactly is this new private Catholic trust that will own the land where the hospital will be based?

Today on In the News: Why can’t the Government get the new National Maternity Hospital over the line?

In the News is presented by reporters Sorcha Pollak and Conor Pope.

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