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Sisters of Charity purportedly gift land to the State



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,975 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    lazygal wrote: »
    Does anyone know what happens now as a patient of Holles St if you refuse to be transferred to St Vincent's if such a need arises? Do the doctors overrule your wishes because of the clinical connection to it? Can they do that?
    In general they can't give you any kind of medical treatment that you don't consent to receive. So if you say you won't accept any treatment in Vincent's, they have to respect that.

    Two possible exceptions:

    1. You're on the table and out for the count when an issue arises for which, they think, you can be best treated in Vincent's. This is an unexpected issue and there has been no previous discussion of this possibility. There is no opportunity to seek your consent. They'll ship you off to Vincent's on the basis that, medically, that's the optimal course and they assume you would want the optimal treatment.

    2. As above, except they know of your wish, expressed earlier, not to be transferred to Vincent's. In this perhaps not-very-realistic hypothetical, a transfer to Vincent's is the course of action most likely to save your life. They'll probably proceed on the basis that, if you knew this additional information and could express a view, you'd take the life-saving transfer. They'd prefer to deal with your complaints about being transferred without your consent than with your family's complaints about the fact that you died because they didn't transfer you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,975 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    NuMarvel wrote: »
    There's one problem with this theory; SVHG are insistent that the hospital be part of the overall Vincent's organisation. They won't accept an independent party running the hospital. That was the original stumbling block with the move in the first place; NMH wanted to remain independent, but Vincent's objected.

    If it was just a case that the land had to continue to be used for healthcare, then there would be no need to insist it all had to be under the SVHG umbrella. The NMH and the State would have absolutely no issues making whatever commitments were necessary to satisfy this requirement.
    The issue here is enforcement. If you sell property outright to someone, realistically speaking any assurances or commitments they gave you about what they would do with it in order to induce you to sell it to them are, in practical terms, next to impossible to enforce because you have no continuing leverage over them. This isn't a thing just with property transactions; if you sell your business the purchaser's honeyed words and blandishments about how he would treat your loyal and long-serving staff count for very little once the sale is complete.

    This is why the long lease has traditionally been favoured as a way of developing property - as landlord, I have a range of mechanisms for continued enforcement of the terms of a lease against tenants that are not available to me if I'm simply someone who owned the property ten or thirty or seventy years ago.

    That, of course, points to SVHG being the freeholder of the hospital site, not the operator of the hospital. So if they are saying that they want to run the hospital, yeah, my theory does not account for that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,789 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    Establishment circling the wagons.

    Former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan joins National Maternity Hospital board

    Life ain't always empty.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,975 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    "Circling the wagons" is maybe a bit conspiracy-theory-ish. It's always members of the establishment who get appointed to state boards. Nothing to see here.

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,789 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    The Irish Times reported at the weekend that the State would take control of the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) site for 299 years under fresh proposals aimed at settling the ongoing rows over its governance.

    Under the new arrangement there would also be three public-interest directors on the board that will run the hospital, a change from the original proposal to have only one such director.

    The number of St Vincent’s directors on the board would drop to three from four and the number of directors from the National Maternity Hospital would also drop to three from four. The result is that there would be three directors each representing the public interest, St Vincent’s and the NMH instead of one for the public interest and four each for St Vincent’s and the NMH.

    A senior Government source said the three party leaders had not yet been briefed on the plans and that they were keen to closely examine the documents underpinning any such new deal. 

    The Make Our National Maternity Hospital Public campaign said on Sunday, however, that the proposed deal would not settle rows on governance and that they are “merely a smoke and mirrors exercise to deflect from legitimate concerns around ownership, and the intransigence of an organisation determined to hold on to a valuable asset”.

    “Extending the length of a lease over the site, which the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group insists it must own for ‘clinical, governance and operational reasons’ does nothing to instil confidence regarding the independence of the new hospital. If ownership of the site is necessary for governance, the State must own it,” said the group, whose organisers include theatre nurse and trade unionist Jo Tully and academic Ailbhe Smyth.

    “We remain unconvinced of the wisdom of transferring the National Maternity Hospital to the St Vincent’s site, and vehemently opposed to the handover of a publicly constructed, publicly funded facility to a private charity.”

    The campaign will hold a vigil at the Dáil this Thursday to remember Savita Halappanavar on the ninth anniversary of her death, and to “highlight the need for public, secular ownership of our new National Maternity Hospital”. 

    Post edited by Hotblack Desiato on

    Life ain't always empty.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,531 ✭✭✭✭aloyisious

    It's a fair comment to say that the SVHG is a flag of convenience vehicle by which the RC establishment here [which the sisters are a part of] is seeking to keep its RC religious ethics control on what happens within the medical buildings at the St Vincent campus at Elm Park come what may. The name of the new group is a bold statement to that effect, the establishment didn't even go to the bother of calling it Elm Park Hospital Group to conceal their aim.

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,789 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    Non-update update today:

    Doesn't seem to say anything different from last October's article above. However the ownership body, whose trustees are appointed by the nuns, is still somehow being described as "independent" 🙄

    Maybe in a day or two we'll get Patsy McGarry's take on this, which I expect to be less sanguine.

    The article also says "Plans were also set in motion at that time to increase the number of public interest directors on the board of the new hospital." Surely all directors of hospitals should have the public interest first and foremost, not that of medical professionals and certainly not nuns...

    Life ain't always empty.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,842 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762

    Lily livered government. CPO it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,531 ✭✭✭✭aloyisious

    I'm not sure if this is true and therefor relevant to the ownership of the site issue. I got an email from last Friday with the first two lines below as the opening lines:

    BREAKING: The Sisters of Charity want to sell the National Maternity Hospital land at Elm Park for €1 to a private company dominated by a Catholic ethos.. [1]

    This news is exactly what we feared. It’s the latest plan by the Sisters of Charity and St. Vincent Hospital bosses - to make sure we don’t get the reproductive healthcare we all deserve. Now we’re hearing that a deal is on the verge of being agreed. [2]....

    Has anyone heard/seen or been informed of the message the two email lines above carry about what is supposedly the latest behind the scenes manoeuvring by the sisters and the board of SVHG?

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,789 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    Nothing new in that. The company (set up as a charity) they want to give ownership to is controlled by nominees of the nuns. It's very far from the "gift to the Irish people" they tried to spin it as.

    Life ain't always empty.

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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,394 Mod ✭✭✭✭robindch

    Meanwhile, the archdiocese of Dublin wants the city to rezone church sites to allow homes to be built - seems there's no need to stuff the resulting management committees when it comes to housing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,789 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    Another letter from Peter Boylan in Monday's IT:

    Sir, – Your editorial “National Maternity Hospital – potential for progress” (February 14th) is optimistic that nine words will provide a “legal bulwark” that will eliminate concerns about the NMH relocation project.

    It is impossible to reconcile the apparent agreement to “carry out all medical procedures allowed under Irish law” with previous statements. When the Religious Sisters of Charity announced in May 2017 their intention (not yet realised) to depart St Vincent’s Healthcare Group (SVHG), the Order’s leader Sr Mary Christian confirmed that their successors, St Vincent’s Holdings, would be “true to the values of our foundress”.

    A simultaneous announcement stated that “the Board, management and 4,000 staff of SVHG are absolutely committed to upholding the vision and values of Mary Aikenhead”.

    Note 27 in the SVHG Annual Accounts for 2017 commits the directors of St Vincent’s Holdings to upholding those same vision and values.

    When the constitution of St Vincent’s Holdings restating the “core values” of the Order was published in August 2020, the retention of Catholic ethos was undeniable.

    We are being asked to believe that the vision and values of this Catholic religious Order include the provision of abortion, elective sterilisation, and IVF.

    The serious doubt raised by this proposition is precisely why a list of specific procedures must be included in any licence agreement. The argument that this might complicate the introduction of new procedures in the future does not stand up to analysis as the licence could be future proofed by the inclusion of a phrase such as “and all other healthcare procedures that may become legal in the future”.

    Gene editing is one area that requires careful scrutiny before the State cedes control of its flagship maternity hospital to a Catholic company for 299 years.

    Developments in such technologies as CRISPR-Cas 9 suggest its future use for the treatment of numerous genetic diseases, including, for example, cystic fibrosis.

    While Catholic theologians weigh up whether gene editing might reduce abortion in the future, it is incontrovertible that when the technology uses IVF or fertilised human embryos, it would be prohibited in Catholic healthcare.

    With up to €1 billion of public money at issue, members of the Cabinet must ask themselves if it has been established beyond reasonable doubt that the new NMH can achieve the feat of being the only hospital in the world under Catholic patronage to provide procedures globally prohibited by Catholic law.

    The consequences of getting it wrong would be apparent within a few short years. – Yours etc,


    Dublin 6.

    Interesting question whether the RCC might in future consider gene editing as a preferable alternative to abortion... however that question should be of no consequence whatsoever to our public healthcare system as no church should be anywhere near it.

    Life ain't always empty.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,531 ✭✭✭✭aloyisious

    From the [Eoghan Dalton] 12 hours ago: Re SVH, An FOI request was made to the hospital group by a John Hamill in 2022 for a copy of its former code of ethics [which was devised by the Religious Sisters of Charity as a “philosophy” for workers operating in the health service]. SVUH refused to release it claiming that releasing would be misleading as the code was “no longer relevant” and that its code of ethics had been updated. The refusal of the request was then passed on to the Information Commissioner for adjudication. In its submissions to the commissioner, St Vincent’s argued that the release of the code would be misleading and could affect staff morale due to “unfair criticism” which may arise from releasing the code.

    “It made this claim on the basis that the code was no longer relevant and no longer guided the operations, objectives and initiatives of the Hospital, or the new National Maternity Hospital,” the commissioner’s annual report said. It said it was an “old and superseded” code, and further claimed that to release the information would be “potentially damaging to it as, taken out of context, it could result in the public at large incorrectly believing that both it and the new National Maternity Hospital” would operate on the basis of former ethos.

    The commissioner ruled in favour of Mr Hamill, ordering SVH to release the old ethics code to Mr Hamill. The Commissioner did not accept that the possibility that the code could be misinterpreted by the public was a valid reason for refusing its release. The Commissioner also pointed out that there was no provision in the FOI Act to exempt information from release on the ground that it was factually inaccurate. It was one of a number of cases highlighted by Information Commissioner Ger Deering in the organisation’s annual report for 2022. It annulled the hospital’s decision and directed release of the code, noting that “there was nothing preventing the Hospital from releasing a statement alongside the code clarifying its current status”.

    Mr Hamill was happy at the commissioners ruling in his favour, making comments about SVH being in receipt of public monies and sic: it might be embarrassed between the two ethics codes in comparison.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,394 Mod ✭✭✭✭robindch