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Sisters of Charity purportedly gift land to the State

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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,956 ✭✭✭✭ aloyisious


    St Vincents hospital is part of the new St Vincents Healthcare group so the land property is probably [I'm assuming on the basis of current news info] invested with the new group and under its complete legal control. This link on new board appointees is from June 2019... https://www.stvincents.ie/st-vincents-healthcare-group-announces-new-appointments-to-board-of-directors/


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,242 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch




  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,036 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    Soc Dems are tweeting that the transfer is not to the State but to a 'new' (inverted commas mine) charity.

    For some reason the hamsters won't let me share the tweet directly but it's on their twitter feed.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,242 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch




  • Registered Users Posts: 26,547 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    the completion of transfer of ownership of the St Vincent's Healthcare Group site from the Congregation to a new, independent, charitable body to be called St Vincent’s Holdings CLG.

    Hmmm... not convinced tbh. Who are the trustees going to be? Who appoints them? Who holds them accountable?

    Funding charities to deliver state services is not good enough.

    https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0529/878662-st-vincents-religious-sisters-of-charity/
    He said a majority of his concerns regarding the new maternity hospital have been alleviated but that a few things need to be straightened out.

    Dr Boylan said the first is the structure of the charity that is being formed, to ensure it is not what is known as a "public juridic person".

    This is a structure, he said, which Roman Catholic organisations use to divest themselves of land and property and its structure obeys canon law as opposed to State law.

    If the charity is such a structure, he said, he would be extremely concerned as it would be subject to canon law and not State law. He said clarity is needed on this issue.

    Dr Boylan also said he thinks that the structure of the board of the new hospital has to be properly constructed so that there are a greater number of National Maternity Hospital representatives on the board.

    He said he believed that St Vincent's needs to have representation, as it is on their campus, but nothing like what was proposed to initially.

    Dr Boylan also said the master of the NMH needs to report to the board of the NMH not to the Vincent’s Hospital Group Clinical Director.
    AIMSI Ireland, which represents maternity service users, welcomed the fact that there has been a change of heart and that the Sisters of Charity are going to relinquish their control over the SVHG.

    Speaking to RTÉ News, AIMSI chairperson Krysia Lynch said, however, that it was unclear how the members of the board would be appointed, what exercise the Government and State would have over the new company, and who the new charitable company would report to.


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,036 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    Hmmm... not convinced tbh. Who are the trustees going to be? Who appoints them? Who holds them accountable?

    Funding charities to deliver state services is not good enough.

    https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0529/878662-st-vincents-religious-sisters-of-charity/

    I am beginning to detect the stench of slight of hand...


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,332 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    Bannasidhe wrote: »
    I am beginning to detect the stench of slight of hand...

    Would you expect any different from the nuns?


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,547 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    Mixed reaction to announcement of Rome assent to transfer of site at St Vincent’s
    Former Master of the National Maternity Hospital Dr Peter Boylan said there remained a “need to know who the real owners of the St Vincent’s Hospital Group (SVH CLG) are.” The relevant “memorandum and articles of association need to be seen,” he said.

    “What precise area of land is being alienated [transferred]?” he asked, and he questioned whether it would include the car park, St Vincent’s Private Hospital and St Michael’s Hospital in Dún Laoghaire. He believed correspondence on the matter between the Sisters of Charity and the Vatican “should be placed in the public domain and made available for inspection.”

    In his view governance arrangements for the new National Maternity Hospital should be the same as those for the new National Children’s Hospital which is co-located with St James’s Hospital, with “separate governance, a different board, separate clinical governance, and a separate budget,” he said.

    “We need more clarity on what it (Sisters of Charity announcement) actually means,” he said.

    Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall s welcomed the Sisters’ announcement but pointed out that the new arrangement “does not constitute public ownership of the site.”

    She said today’s development “should be seen as just the first stage in a process where SVH CLG should now be required to transfer ownership of the site to the State. The public investment in the new hospital, of up to €500m, must be protected by public ownership of the site on which it is built.”

    A new National Maternity Hospital was “badly needed and it is regrettable that it is taking so long to get to a situation where this much needed project can proceed. Today’s announcement can only be seen as stage one of a process where the State can legally own this site and stage two must entail the ownership of the site transferring to State,” she said.

    “We also need assurances that the governance structure of the new maternity hospital will be fully independent and separate to the corporate structure of St Vincent’s Holdings CLG. The governance structure proposed in the Mulvey report does not provide that independence,” she said.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,036 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    smacl wrote: »
    Would you expect any different from the nuns?

    Not even if I landed on my head.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,653 ✭✭✭✭ lazygal


    Why the **** can't we just have the state own the stuff we build instead of having bloody religious charities all over the place. No more money for any religious charities, we should control all aspects of anything the state funds.


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,036 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    lazygal wrote: »
    Why the **** can't we just have the state own the stuff we build instead of having bloody religious charities all over the place. No more money for any religious charities, we should control all aspects of anything the state funds.

    Who ever controls the Soc Dems twitter account is going off about this. :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,653 ✭✭✭✭ lazygal


    Bannasidhe wrote: »
    Who ever controls the Soc Dems twitter account is going off about this. :D

    Delivering essential services via charities needs to cease. It creates a toxic culture.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,036 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    lazygal wrote: »
    Delivering essential services via charities needs to cease. It creates a toxic culture.

    Absolutely. And it lets govt off the hook by creating another layer between it and service users.
    I'm thinking in particular of charities who receive most of their funding from the likes of the HSE. Govt funds HSE/HSE funds charity/Charity delivers services the HSE have deemed worthy of supporting.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,653 ✭✭✭✭ lazygal


    Bannasidhe wrote: »
    Absolutely. And it lets govt off the hook by creating another layer between it and service users.
    I'm thinking in particular of charities who receive most of their funding from the likes of the HSE. Govt funds HSE/HSE funds charity/Charity delivers services the HSE have deemed worthy of supporting.

    How many homeless, cancer and disability charities are there? Endless duplication and fundraising. Essential services have always been state funded and needlessly funnelled through third parry, usual religious, private interests. This has to cease. And it's why I don't donate to any charity that gets state funding. We're already paying for it.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 41,836 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    one of the reasons the state is happy to do that is that it allows them to cut the cord on short notice. a colleague's wife used to work for a charity which provided support and lobbying for people who'd been through a particular procedure, one that you'd have heard of and was perfectly respectable.
    IIRC, when the last financial crisis hit, their government funding went from €400k one year to €50k the next, and they dropped down to a single employee.

    if the state absorbed the functions of that charity - which they should have done - they'd have had several employees which they'd not have been able to let go, in the way they outsourced the 'letting go' to others.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,956 ✭✭✭✭ aloyisious


    If the handover from the nuns order is to a charity, doesn't that mean the charity must be registered with the Charity Regulator for oversight? I'll wait for tomorrows Irish Times and Irish Examiner for much smaller finer details.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,243 ✭✭✭✭ branie2


    Great thing to do.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,036 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    branie2 wrote: »
    Great thing to do.

    It would be if they had done so but the Devil is, as they say, in the details, and the land has NOT been gifted to the State.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,547 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    Letter in yesterday's IT:


    Transfer of lands to maternity hospital

    Sir, – Several newspapers and media outlets announced the transfer of hospital lands at St Vincent’s by the Religious Sisters of Charity to “the State” or to “the Irish public” (although not The Irish Times, which simply referred to the “transfer of lands” in its headline of May 8th).

    The relinquishment by the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent’s, and consequently of the proposed new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) at the St Vincent’s site, will come as a great relief to those of us who held serious concerns about the influence of St Vincent’s Catholic ethos on the ability of the NMH to provide independent medical treatment to women, in accordance with Irish law and with the woman’s wishes and medical best practice at the fore of its decision-making.

    However, from an examination of the Sisters’ statement, it does not in fact appear to be the case that St Vincent’s will be transferred to the State. Rather, a transfer will be effected to a private charitable body, St Vincent’s Holdings CLG (company limited by guarantee).

    The property law maxim superficies solo cedit (“a building becomes part of the ground“), the continued application of which in Irish law is confirmed by section 3 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009, means that no matter how much taxpayers’ money is invested in the new National Maternity Hospital, it will become the property of the owner of the land on which it is built, ie this new CLG.

    The Religious Sisters of Charity’s move in relinquishing their ownership of a hospital they have been involved in for 186 years is courageous and admirable.

    One wonders, however, whether the transfer – at least of that part of the lands on which the NMH is to be built – ought not to be to the State which will fund the building of the hospital?

    At the very least, surely the public deserve to know who will run this new CLG? If a gift is to be made – and it is difficult to see why it should be made – surely the taxpayer deserves to know who it is gifting its hospital to?

    Can the public be sure, as the Minister seems to be, that the Sisters’ announcement “will remove any remaining concerns” about religious influence on the NMH?

    Surely that will depend on who is running St Vincent’s Holdings CLG.

    The Sisters, for their part, express themselves to be “confident” that “the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group Board, management and staff will continue to provide acute healthcare services that foster Mary Aikenhead’s mission and core values of dignity, compassion, justice, equality and advocacy for all into the future”.

    While it is hard to argue with any of those values, let us not forget that Mary Aikenhead’s mission and core values most certainly did not encompass the provision of contraception services, abortion, assisted fertility treatment, sterilisation or gender reassignment surgery.

    These services must continue to be provided to women by our National Maternity Hospital. The women of Ireland waited long enough to be entitled to appropriate medical treatment, on an equal footing, in the eyes of the law.

    Let us hope that the building of our new NMH allows them to enjoy that right in facilities of the highest standard, under the care of independent medical experts unhindered by any ethos other than care for its patients. – Yours, etc,

    APRIL DUFF,

    Dundrum,

    Dublin 16.






    Response today from Peter Boylan:


    Sir, – April Duff (Letters, May 18th) raises valid questions regarding St Vincent’s Holdings CLG (company limited by guarantee), the company into which the Religious Sisters of Charity (RSC) have received Vatican permission to transfer their 100 per cent shareholding in the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group (SVHG). In particular she asks if the public can be sure that the news “will remove any remaining concerns about religious influence” on the planned new National Maternity Hospital, as the Minister for Health stated last week.

    I believe serious concerns remain, and must be addressed transparently and immediately.

    The statement by Sr Patricia Lenihan, the superior general of the RSC, on May 8th that the congregation “is confident that the SVHG board, management and staff will continue to provide acute healthcare services that foster Mary Aikenhead’s [the founder of the order] mission and core values” strongly suggests that a Catholic ethos will be maintained in St Vincent’s Holdings CLG.

    Over the last 25 years or so, as the numbers of religious in Catholic congregations worldwide have declined, it has become common for their assets to be transferred into Vatican-approved charities, with lay boards of directors. These structures are known as public juridic persons of pontifical right. They are derived as a mechanism of canon law, but recognised in civil law. Sr Lenihan’s statement quoted above sums up precisely the function and responsibilities of a public juridic person.

    There are numerous examples in North America and Australia, and increasingly in Ireland, Asia and Africa. In recent years we have seen the transfer to public juridic persons of the Mater Hospital group (2016), the Mercy Hospital in Cork (2016), the Bon Secours group (2017), and St John of God’s (2019). The holding companies of all these organisations are established under Irish company law. At the same time, they are absolutely transparent on their websites that they are part of the healthcare ministry of the Catholic Church. They are equally open that their hospitals do not provide services such as elective sterilisation, abortion, or IVF.

    The problem with St Vincent’s Holdings CLG is that, as SVHG’s most recent annual report states, it intends to own the planned new National Maternity 100 per cent. Yet I cannot find a single example anywhere in the world where the Vatican has approved the transfer of assets of a Catholic congregation to a company that will own a hospital providing women’s healthcare services absolutely prohibited by Catholic teaching.

    To believe that the Irish Sisters of Charity will be unique in this respect stretches my credulity to breaking point.

    Unless it is proved beyond doubt that St Vincent’s Holdings is not a public juridic person (or similar vehicle), can the Minister of Health and his officials really be certain that no concerns remain about Catholic ethos on the Elm Park campus?

    Have the members of the boards of both hospitals, appointed for their legal, professional and commercial expertise, made themselves fully aware of all issues pertaining to the civil and canonical transfer of assets of Catholic healthcare organisations and the obligations that ensue?

    An estimated €100 million has already been spent on professional fees, preparatory works and the construction of a pharmacy and car park at Elm Park. It is now essential that the Religious Sisters of Charity publish both the relevant correspondence with the Vatican as well as the full memorandum and articles of association of St Vincent’s Holdings CLG so that the public can see exactly what has been agreed. Unverified assurances are no substitute for documentary evidence.

    The whole saga has the makings of a very Irish scandal. – Yours, etc,

    Dr PETER BOYLAN

    (Life Governor

    and Former Master,

    National Maternity

    Hospital),

    Dublin 6.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,547 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    Two different takes on it today:



    Sir, – As consultants working at the National Maternity Hospital and St Vincent’s University Hospital, we write to acknowledge the significance of the decision by the Religious Sisters of Charity to transfer ownership of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group to a new independent charitable body, St Vincent’s Holding CLG. As healthcare providers, we would like to recognise the huge contribution the Religious Sisters of Charity have made to Irish healthcare during their 186-year involvement with St Vincent’s.

    This transfer of ownership will now facilitate the construction of the new National Maternity Hospital at the Elm Park campus in Dublin without delay. The current National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street is not fit for purpose and does not and will not adequately serve the women and infants of Ireland into the future.

    In contrast, the new hospital will be a state-of-the-art building, providing a major advance in the provision of patient care. Its location on the campus of an internationally renowned acute adult tertiary hospital will mean a very wide range of specialist services are available to our patients when required.

    As consultants who already work together, we are hugely excited by the clinical benefits that will accrue for our patients from the relocation of the National Maternity Hospital onto the St Vincent’s University Hospital campus.

    The Mulvey agreement of 2016 clearly states that the new National Maternity Hospital will have full clinical, operational and financial independence in the provision of maternity, gynaecological and neonatal services (without religious, ethnic or other distinction). This is copper-fastened by the existing National Maternity Hospital Chartered Entity nominating four of the directors to the NMH DAC (designated activity company), including the inaugural chair and the nomination of the Master for appointment by the NMH DAC.

    As consultants who currently practice in both the National Maternity Hospital and St Vincent’s University Hospital, we are entirely satisfied that our clinical independence shall remain unfettered under the Mulvey agreement.

    The National Maternity Hospital project remains a key Government priority. We would like to thank the HSE, Department of Health and Government for their support to date and call on the incoming government to fully commit itself to the urgent progression of this project, which is the most important infrastructural development for women’s health in the history of the State. – Yours, etc,

    Prof SHANE HIGGINS,

    Master, National Maternity

    Hospital (NMH);

    Prof RHONA MAHONY,

    Master, NMH 2012-2018;

    Dr MICHAEL ROBSON,

    Master, NMH 2005-2011;

    Prof DECLAN KEANE,

    Master, NMH 1998-2004;

    Prof MICHAEL KEANE,

    Group Clinical Director,

    St Vincent’s Hospital

    Group (SVHG), and

    Dean of Medicine, UCD;

    Prof ALAN WATSON,

    Clinical Director,

    Medicine and

    Emergency

    Medicine, SVHG;

    Mr STEPHEN SHEEHAN,

    Clinical Director,

    Surgery and Anaesthesia, SVHG, Dublin 4.



    Sir, – The most extraordinary aspect of the handing over of land by the Catholic Church for the new maternity hospital is how the church would knowingly, with the consent of Rome, the Dublin diocese and the religious order of nuns, agree to facilitate in any way an institution that carries out abortions. Such a U-turn has left me puzzled as to where the church stands on the abortion question. – Yours, etc,

    SEAN FOX,

    Dublin 3.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 26,547 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    A couple of weeks old at this stage :o

    Fresh thinking on National Maternity Hospital impasse vital
    It is eight years since the project to co-locate the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) at the Elm Park campus of St Vincent’s hospital was announced. Four years ago, a wave of public outrage followed the realisation, after years of dispute and mediation, that the new NMH would be owned 100 per cent by the Religious Sisters of Charity, then and still today the sole shareholders of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group (SVHG).

    In May 2017, the Sisters announced their intention to depart their hospitals and “gift to people [sic] of Ireland lands at SVHG to the value of €200 million”. In fact, the shareholding is to be transferred for €1 into a new company called St Vincent’s Holdings which has charitable status.

    Assurances were given that this process would be straightforward and ensure that Catholic ethos would not impact on women’s reproductive healthcare at the new hospital. The congregation’s leader stated that the “core values” of the constitution of SVHG that mandate its Catholic ethos would be “amended and replaced”.

    What happened next was far from straightforward. It emerged in 2018, despite repeated denials, that Vatican permission was in fact needed for the Sisters’ shareholding transfer, called “alienation” in canon law. Last May, we learned that the Vatican had granted permission conditional on the Sisters observing specified canon laws.

    An earlier warning was sounded in the 2018 SVHG Annual Report which stated unambiguously that the directors of St Vincent’s Holdings must uphold into the future “the values and vision” of Mother Mary Aikenhead, the order’s founder.

    When the constitution of St Vincent’s Holdings was published last August, with the “core values” of the Sisters included in full, the retention of Catholic ethos was undeniable and brought into question once again the future independence of the NMH.

    As Róisín Shortall TD pointed out at the Oireachtas select committee on health last week, reproductive health services such as sterilisations or contraception were not provided to women at St Vincent’s hospital and it was hard to see how that situation would change under the new structure.

    Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly responded that no religious ethos could be imposed at the planned new maternity hospital that would impact on services under any circumstances.

    It was “an absolute red line”, he said. If so, then we seem to have reached it.

    There are other issues raised by the new structure that are a cause for concern. St Vincent’s Holdings is a company limited by guarantee. This means it does not have shareholders and is owned by its members who are also its directors. They will effectively own the three SVHG hospitals and putatively the new NMH.

    The company must have at least three directors and no more than 10. The power to appoint new directors lies with the existing directors. There are currently three directors, who are also directors of SVHG and no directors representing the NMH, the State or the Health Service Executive, and no guarantee of representation in the constitution.

    The directors have the power to sell, mortgage or dispose of any or all part of the company. This is particularly concerning given that in 2010 the Sisters mortgaged St Vincent’s University Hospital as collateral for a loan to build the private hospital. In consequence, Bank of Ireland has “a fixed charge over the entire St Vincent’s hospital site” and “a floating charge over all the undertakings, property and assets of SVHG both present and future”.

    As with Donnelly’s “red line” on services, the new structure is in conflict with then taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s commitment to the Dáil in November 2019 that the new NMH would be “State-owned on State land”. To date, however, St Vincent’s is offering the State no more than a 99-year lease on the land and is insisting on owning the new NMH DAC, the yet-to-be-incorporated company that will run the new hospital.

    This in turn falls foul of the 2019 Report on the Role of Voluntary Organisations which recommended that “where the State decides to build any new hospital or facility, it should endeavour to ensure that it owns the land on which the hospital or facility is built”.

    So what can be done at this late stage?

    As with all major capital projects costing more than €100 million, the Department for Public Expenditure and Reform must make a full financial and economic appraisal of the project, and assess matters of governance and project risks before issuing to Government for a decision.

    Since two of the SVHG hospitals are section 38 organisations – funded by the State and classified as public services – the HSE must approve (or not) the transfer, establishing with certainty that there is no risk of future problems with the provision of services.

    The Government must consider the implications for Sláintecare and the likely public reaction to the gifting of the State’s newest publicly funded hospital to a private company with stated Catholic ethos.

    An all-party Oireachtas group has recently been established to lobby for full State ownership and independence of the new hospital. Public interest remains high. We have reached a watershed.

    Could the State attempt a compulsory purchase order on the land at Elm Park? Constitutional protection conferred on religious orders makes this likely to fail.

    SVHG is largely publicly funded so could the Sisters transfer it to the State instead, not for €1 but with appropriate valuation of their assets? Canon law would raise serious, perhaps intractable, obstacles.

    What if the impasse cannot be resolved? The original rationale of the project was to provide access to acute and intensive care services for women with complicated pregnancies. Could this critical objective be met in the interim by locating a high-risk maternity unit at St James’s Hospital, giving pregnant women from all over the country access to the full range of clinical specialities, and their infants immediate access to the new National Children’s Hospital? This would achieve the gold standard of tri-location of maternity, adult and neonatal and paediatric services.

    Concerns that the 1930s Holles Street building was “not fit for purpose” have been significantly mitigated by ongoing investment. New operating theatres, labour rooms and a neonatal intensive care unit have been built in recent years. The postnatal wards have been refurbished and new office and teaching space has been acquired in an adjacent building. It is the only maternity hospital in the State with a dedicated MRI facility thanks to private charitable donations.

    The current impasse does not serve the women of Ireland. Fresh thinking is now required.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,547 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    Follow-up letter from HAI:

    https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/medical-ethics-in-irish-hospitals-1.4564471
    Medical ethics in Irish hospitals

    Sir, – Dr Peter Boylan has once again warned that the Sisters of Charity through either St Vincent’s Healthcare Group (SVHG) or a new charitable company, St Vincent’s Holdings, are doing everything possible to gain ownership and control of the new National Maternity Hospital (“Fresh thinking on National Maternity Hospital impasse vital”, Opinion & Analysis, May 5th).

    If they succeed the implication is that the new hospital, as part of St Vincent’s, will be required to adhere to Catholic medical ethics.

    This is not a unique case. We should remember that quite a number of hospitals which are controlled by Catholic organisations require staff to adhere to Catholic medical ethics when treating patients. This has meant that many patients, mostly women, have not received medical care or advice that would be considered the most appropriate in leading non-Catholic hospitals in Ireland and worldwide. Even hospitals outside the formal control of Catholic organisations have found it difficult to avoid objections of Catholic staff to the provision of medical care not approved by the church.

    It is long overdue for the Oireachtas to legislate to the effect that publicly funded hospitals must offer and provide all medical treatments within their medical competence that are permitted by law. It should be illegal for hospitals such as St Vincent’s, the Mater, Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children and the new National Maternity Hospital not to consider or provide treatments on the grounds that they are forbidden by the Catholic Church. A Bill to this effect, which should be easy to draft, should also apply to private hospitals and clinics that treat publicly funded patients. – Yours, etc,

    AIDAN PENDER,

    Chairman,

    DAVID McCONNELL,

    Honorary President,

    The Humanist Association

    of Ireland,

    Dún Laoghaire,

    Co Dublin.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,242 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    A couple of weeks old at this stage
    Have to say that the Religious Sisters of Charity are getting first-rate, top-dollar legal advice. So far as I can make out from the incomplete picture implied by the legal terms arising, the religious orders are running rings around government lawyers who, one suspects, have been instructed to do nothing to upset them, and especially, to avoid any hint that the state could use its own power to resolve the situation easily and quickly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    robindch wrote: »
    Have to say that the Religious Sisters of Charity are getting first-rate, top-dollar legal advice. So far as I can make out from the incomplete picture implied by the legal terms arising, the religious orders are running rings around government lawyers who, one suspects, have been instructed to do nothing to upset them, and especially, to avoid any hint that the state could use its own power to resolve the situation easily and quickly.
    . . . but not cheaply, which may be the reason for not going down that road. If we accept the valuation quoted in the Irish Times article that you link to, it would cost €200 million to CPO the land.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,242 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    . . . but not cheaply, which may be the reason for not going down that road. If we accept the valuation quoted in the Irish Times article that you link to, it would cost €200 million to CPO the land.
    Open to correction on a legal point here, but if the land is settled into a trust which specifies that the land can only ever be used for the provision of hospital services by the state - rather than seeing it auctioned off on the open market to property developers at the market rate, where it may indeed fetch €200m - then essentially the land has no value as there is only one possible customer and it may as well be transferred for one euro.

    The religious orders instituted similar schemes when transferring schools as part of the residential abuse settlement - they were paid at the market rate for their properties, or their bill was reduced by an amount equivalent to the open-market value of their properties, but the lands were settled so that the state would never be able to realize that value.

    Ten out of ten for cynicism and effective legal footwork on the part of the religious orders, and zero out of ten for Joe Public who got screwed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    robindch wrote: »
    Open to correction on a legal point here, but if the land is settled into a trust which specifies that the land can only ever be used for the provision of hospital services by the state - rather than seeing it auctioned off on the open market to property developers at the market rate, where it may indeed fetch €200m - then essentially the land has no value as there is only one possible customer and it may as well be transferred for one euro.
    I don't think so, no. The effect of CPO-ing the land is to take it out of the trust, so the use restriction no longer applies, so the state realises the full open market value of the land, and CPO compensation must be calculated accordingly.

    (At least, that's how I understand it; I could be wrong.)
    robindch wrote: »
    The religious orders instituted similar schemes when transferring schools as part of the residential abuse settlement - they were paid at the market rate for their properties, or their bill was reduced by an amount equivalent to the open-market value of their properties, but the lands were settled so that the state would never be able to realize that value.

    Ten out of ten for cynicism and effective legal footwork on the part of the religious orders, and zero out of ten for Joe Public who got screwed.
    This doesn't quite stack up. If the religious orders get full value for their land (either in cash or as an abatement to the amount owing by way of redress) then it makes no difference at all to them whether the land is subsequently used for a school or for some other purpose; continue use as a school doesn't increase the financial benefit to the religious order by one cent.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,242 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The effect of CPO-ing the land is to take it out of the trust, so the use restriction no longer applies, so the state realises the full open market value of the land, and CPO compensation must be calculated accordingly.
    You could be correct and - might be something that's ruled on in a case-by-case basis.

    However, again open to correction here, I do believe that where a trust is unwound - say, to fulfill the terms of a CPO as I suppose may be possible - then I believe that normal rules of transfer can be suspended where the assets are subsequently settled into a trust with substantially the same thing as what's specified in the original trust. Similar legal logic applies in the simpler case where, for example, the assets of a married person are settled into trust upon the activation of their EPA, and when, upon their death, their will might specify that their assets are settled into trust for their spouse - the law, I believe, simply leaves the stuff in trust rather than popping it out of trust and back in again, a brief journey which may subject the assets to ruinous taxation.

    Hence, if the second trust were suitably configured, the value via the CPO route would be substantially reduced, or zero.
    Not that this would encourage the orders concerned to dispose of it, of course, but they could be offered some percentage of it.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    If the religious orders get full value for their land (either in cash or as an abatement to the amount owing by way of redress) then it makes no difference at all to them whether the land is subsequently used for a school or for some other purpose; continue use as a school doesn't increase the financial benefit to the religious order by one cent.
    The point was that the religious orders were paid (or rebated) according to the full market value of their land, despite the state being unable to sell it because there was a school there. Same with Vincent's - the state should not be paying market rate for Vincent's since there's no way it will unwind the trust, knock down the hospital, develop 2,000 apartments, make a killing on the uplift and rebuild the hospital somewhere else.





  • Well, the obvious solution here to his problem is for public funding to hospitals that have owners that he disapproves of to cease, and for these hospitals to no longer operate as public hospitals, but rather as private ones. As the largest non-governmental provider of healthcare in the world, as well as running numerous very successful private hospitals in Ireland, the Church and Orders are quite capable of running hospitals without the state.

    Or failing that, the owners can do whatever else they want with their lands should private operation prove to not be economically viable.

    (Although I am not sure how he proposes to replace the healthcare generously facilitated and provided by the Church/Orders.)


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,036 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    Well, the obvious solution here to his problem is for public funding to hospitals that have owners that he disapproves of to cease, and for these hospitals to no longer operate as public hospitals, but rather as private ones. As the largest non-governmental provider of healthcare in the world, as well as running numerous very successful private hospitals in Ireland, the Church and Orders are quite capable of running hospitals without the state.

    Or failing that, the owners can do whatever else they want with their lands should private operation prove to not be economically viable.

    (Although I am not sure how he proposes to replace the healthcare generously facilitated and provided by the Church/Orders.)

    Sounds ideal.
    The church can run it's private hospitals without any funds from the State in any shape or form and the State can fund public hospitals where the laws of the land and not the ethos of one religion determine healthcare provision.

    If the church as so capable off they trot.


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,036 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    Bannasidhe wrote: »
    Sounds ideal.
    The church can run it's private hospitals without any funds from the State in any shape or form and the State can fund public hospitals where the laws of the land and not the ethos of one religion determine healthcare provision.

    If the church as so capable off they trot.

    They can do the same with schools while they are about it.


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