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Tell all you TDs to keep National Maternity Hospital in State ownership

Whether the new National Maternity Hospital will be in the full control of the State and its Health Service, or that a separate company tied to Roman Catholic medical ethics will control it (on land that the State does not own), is surely the biggest decision to make about this our State running in a secular way in the lifetimes of the present people of Ireland.

The existing hospital is in Holles Street, Dublin 2.

Our Government’s plan has been to build the new maternity hospital next to a general hospital in Dublin city, so that maternity and gynaecology services would be better if patients could move quickly to and from the general hospital. In emergency cases this saves lives. The Government decided to put the new maternity hospital on land next to St Vincent’s general hospital in Dublin 4.

In May 2017 the Mid-West Humanists wrote to the then Minister for Health Simon Harris that the new National Maternity Hospital must be in the full control of the State while it provides health services to the people of Ireland.

Since then, all that has changed is that the Sisters of Charity have said that their organisation will cease to operate St Vincent’s hospital, and that St Vincent’s hospital and a new hospital on the land next to it will now be controlled by a new company, called St Vincent’s Holdings. However there is nothing to show that it will not have the same ethics as any other Roman Catholic healthcare institution.

Since 1970 our State has paid the whole cost of many new, enlarged, and modernised hospitals. Some of these have been controlled by secular bodies somewhat independent of our health services, some by Health Boards and now the Health Service Executive, and some new structures and equipment have been entirely in the control of organisations tied to religions. Some of the

We the people of Ireland, and certainly we the humanist people of the Mid-West region, know that Roman Catholic religious ethics about healthcare would not allow contraception, sterilisation, in-vitro fertilisation, and termination of pregnancy.

We want a hospital that will provide all treatments that are within the law: a hospital with secular ethics as it provides services for all people with no reference to whether any person has one religion or another, or has no religion.

Every TD and Senator has a vote, so visit all your TDs and Senators

There has been plenty of public suggestion that our Government apply to compulsorily purchase the land, on which the new hospital is to be built. The Government have not decided to do this.

On 20 January 2022 the Dáil debated and passed a motion that the State make a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the land on which the National Maternity Hospital is to be built. Our Government did not oppose this motion. We await the Government’s action.

To make it more likely that the State will compulsorily purchase the land for the maternity hospital, every person who supports this CPO should visit all the TDs in their constituency and say that the TD should vote for such an Order.

This is not to suggest that you visit one TD, perhaps the TD that you consider represents you.

Each of the 3 or 4 or 5 TDs in your constituency has a vote in the Dáil, so you can influence all of them by visiting and by stating your firm view. Every Senator also has a vote, so please also visit each Senator in your area.

Visiting is work, but it is worth a lot when the TD or Senator hears what you seek from you in person. Some people send emails or letters, but a visit achieves a lot more.