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Clarification that no religious influence contained in Constitutions of St Vincent’s Healthcare group welcome – Burke

16th May 2022 - Colm Burke TD

Clarification that no religious authority or control can be exerted into the constitution of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group should provide reassurance regarding the new National Maternity Hospital, according to Fine Gael TD Colm Burke.

Deputy Burke, Fine Gael’s Dáil health spokesperson, said: “The appearance of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health today is welcome given the concerns expressed in recent weeks regarding the ownership and independence of the New National Maternity Hospital.

“I think this was appropriate so that members of the Oireachtas have the opportunity to pose questions to some of the stakeholders involved and get further assurances on the operation of the new hospital.

“In his opening statement, James Menton, Chair of SVHG and Founding Director of St Vincent’s Holdings stated that there is no vehicle in the registered constitutions of SVHG or St Vincent’s Holdings by which any religious authority or control can be exerted.

“Mr Menton also stated that the Religious Sisters of Charity transferred their shares to SV holdings without any conditions requiring the practice of any Catholic ethics or any religious ethos.

“He said that St Vincent’s Healthcare Group is a secular organisation, and that the hospital has no religious ethos.

“In 2017, the Religious Sisters of Charity announced they were ceasing involvement in SVHG and all of the representatives resigned with immediate effect.

“It was also stated that the transfer of the RSC’s SVHG shareholding to SV Holdings, the new owner of SVHG, was the last formal step in reaching the board’s objective of becoming a secular organisation, free of any religious interference.

“The legal framework documents on the planned move of the National Maternity Hospital to the St Vincent’s Hospital campus also contains legal guarantees regarding the provision of all reproductive services, which the hospital is obliged to carry out.

“The committee has heard from a large number of clinicians, legal advisers and representatives who have sought to allay the genuine concerns that people have.

“I believe that we now much press ahead with the plan to develop this long-awaited healthcare facility to continue to deliver the best outcomes for patients,” Deputy Burke concluded.

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