Concerns about National Maternity Hospital have been addressed, Taoiseach says 3 months ago

Concerns about National Maternity Hospital have been addressed, Taoiseach says

Martin also accused campaigners of not taking all the positives on board.

Micheál Martin has said that plans to open the National Maternity Hospital in St. Vincent's are going forward, and that any possible issues have been "comprehensively" addressed.

The Taoiseach made the comments on RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland programme on Monday (9 May).

"In my view, the current hospital is unacceptable, it's not fit for purpose for the women of Ireland today," Martin said.

"The new hospital will be a significant advance on the current hospital in terms of extra in-patient beds, a fantastic new world class neonatal unit with far more cots in individual rooms, which helps the outcomes of newborns, premature newborns as early as 23 weeks.

"It's not good enough that we're in confined spaces in the current neonatal [facilities].

"So I think that part of the debate is being lost, that this is what a world class facility to advance outcomes for women and for newborns."

Martin once again defended plans to co-locate the hospital, as the land is being leased from the Sisters of Charity, a religious order.

Campaigners are concerned that religious ethos could prevent people who can get pregnant from receiving treatment that isn't approved by the Catholic church, including abortion and in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

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When it was put forward that campaigners took the positives of a new maternity hospital on board, Martin replied: "But do they?"

Martin was told that campaigners fears hadn't been assuaged, to which he said "Oh but they have been completely addressed".

"To the constitution of the new hospital, clause 5 and clause 9 for example, where the directors of the hospital are obliged to carry out all legal services permissible within the state, and also the minister can direct them to so do, and they must comply.

"The ownership is clear. It's a 300-year lease.

"Government will be pressing ahead with this but we will have meetings this week.

"We've published about seven documents now which are substantive, which really do address the issues that were raised earlier about control and all of that.

"The new hospital will be more secular in governance than the existing hospital has been in its history."

Featured Image: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie