I questioned Minister Donnelly on the Health Committee yesterday. I asked him to MAKE A PUBLIC CALL ON THE SISTERS OF CHARITY TO HAND THE LAND TO THE STATE for the new National Maternity Hospital. State ownership and control is the only acceptable option for the women of Ireland. I also asked a series of questions which included why the govt. can’t source information on (the very inadequate) abortion services in the country while the National women’s council of Ireland can. His answers provide no reassurances for any of us.

Why now? We’ve been asking questions about the new National Maternity Hospital for years, only to be dismissed with a “move on…nothing to see here” type response. Now in the last week it seems all is not well, and there’s variance in government member’s responses to my recent questioning of the status of the NMH project, regarding ownership and control. All the more reason for citizens to come out(safely), Sat 26th, at the Dáil 1.00pm. #MakeNMHOurs.

Our National Maternity Hospital must be kept free of religious ethos. I debated the issue with Varadkar today. Effectively he’s saying ‘it’ll be grand…we have a deal to ensure all services will be available to women’. But the framework he’s prepared to accept has no guarantees. We’ve fought for too long, and we’ve given too much, to base our health needs on nuns on politicians’ promises. Join the Demo June 26

WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU TRUST STEPHEN DONNELLY? The Minister wants us to believe ‘it’ll be all right on the night’; the nuns will be ‘grand’ with women having the care they need in ‘their’ hospital – like abortions. Yeah right! The Minister knows well that the nuns’ commitment to their ethos is embedded in every deal they do, and the set-up they have at St Vincents, means they still own the land for the new hospital which gives them a powerful edge in imposing their ethos. No deal on this basis. THE NATIONAL MATERNITY HOSPITAL MUST BE STATE RUN AND SECULAR. NOTHING LESS.

Outside the Dáil today (25.5.21), I was proud to stand with the Campaign Against Church Ownership of Women’s Healthcare. We reiterated the demand that the new National Maternity Hospital must be free of church control. I also called for the review of Abortion legislation, now due, to make sure that abortion services are available to women right across the country. We’ve waited long enough! In case people aren’t aware, The Sisters of Charity is one of 18 residential institutions that is highlighted by the Ryan report 2009 to have been responsible for child abuse. They still owe €3 million to the redress scheme for its survivors. The Sisters of Charity, along with three other religious congregations, were responsible for the management of Magdalene Laundries. In 2013 they stated they would not be making ANY contributions to the State redress scheme to the women who had been subject abuse in the Magdalene Laundries. Originally, the Department of Health wanted to give them ‘sole’ ownership of the new €300 million State-funded National Maternity Hospital. Now the Department are being very vague as to how ownership and control of the NMH will be handled. The Campaign Against Church Ownership of Women’s Healthcare is determined that the NMH will be secular and publicly owned and run. People Before Profit fully supports this demand.

Recently we heard the great news that the Sisters of Charity had ‘gifted’ the people of Ireland with a site worth €200 million for the new #NationalMaternityHospital. Except they hadn’t. In fact they handed over the site to the Board of St Vincent’s Hospital Group, who are committed to the ethos of Mother Mary Aikenhead, the founder of that order of nuns. We need to see the documentation involved. Already over €100 million of tax payer’s money has been spent on this site. PBP is committed to campaigning for comprehensive maternity and health care for women, that is FREE AND SECULAR.