Advertisement
Private Profiles - an update on how they will be changing here
We've partnered up with Nixers.com to offer a space where you can talk directly to Peter from Nixers.com and get an exclusive Boards.ie discount code for a free job listing. If you are recruiting or know anyone else who is please check out the forum here.

Sisters of Charity purportedly gift land to the State

145679

Comments

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



    It seems to me the ethical problem facing the order to handing over control of the site would be removed if the church [Vatican] gave the nuns notice that no blame would be apportioned to it if it irrevocably free of charge handed over the site the new NMH was to be built on to the board of the existing NMH. With the Gov't stating it would provide the required sum of money set aside for the building of the architecturally planned new NMH, there would be no need for further debate about the medical procedural ethics to be practiced there.

    If the unhelpful bishop had kept his reminder on ethics to the order to himself, the present problem would not have arisen for all the parties involved.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,048 ✭✭✭ Yellow_Fern


    aloyisious wrote: »
    It seems to me the ethical problem facing the order to handing over control of the site would be removed if the church [Vatican] gave the nuns notice that no blame would be apportioned to it if it irrevocably free of charge handed over the site the new NMH was to be built on to the board of the existing NMH. With the Gov't stating it would provide the required sum of money set aside for the building of the architecturally planned new NMH, there would be no need for further debate about the medical procedural ethics to be practiced there.

    If the unhelpful bishop had kept his reminder on ethics to the order to himself, the present problem would not have arisen for all the parties involved.

    But the doctors dont want to hand it over to the State? Bishop Doran's comments were not unhelpful. What was helpful was certain journalists presenting his words as he has some kind of control over the site.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,048 ✭✭✭ Yellow_Fern


    Bannasidhe wrote: »
    And yet the Transgender community in Ireland is adamant that no hospital in Ireland carries out gender reassignment surgery which is why those wishing to avail of it have to travel. Risking all the post-surgical complications that entails.

    Someone is not telling the whole truth.

    There are many non religious objections to trans surgeries and treatments and these approaches are fraught with controversy in the medical community.


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


    Bannasidhe wrote: »
    And yet the Transgender community in Ireland is adamant that no hospital in Ireland carries out gender reassignment surgery which is why those wishing to avail of it have to travel. Risking all the post-surgical complications that entails.

    Someone is not telling the whole truth.
    Would you go to a maternity hospital for gender reassignment surgery? It draws mainly on the specialisms of endocrinology and plastic surgery, and in the UK the NHS provides it in general hospitals, not maternity hospitals.

    I read the consultants letter as saying that the NMH currently offers transgender reproductive services, not gender reassignment surgery.

    The unavailability of gender reassignment surgery in Ireland may be a problem that needs fixing, but trying to connect it to the row over the construction and control of the new maternity hospital is probably not going to be a very productive way of getting it fixed.




  • What this exercise has revealed that it would in fact be unethical (by their standards) of the Sisters to allow the land to be used for such purposes. It seemed to me that this was being set up so the sisters could have "clean hands" when abortions took place at the hospital because it was all somewhat vague and hidden behind euphemism. But this has come down to basically the sisters having to defend the proposed transfer by saying "don't worry, abortions will happen". Would not be surprised for them to be pressured to pull out of the deal, it's not as if they have gotten any thanks for it anyway.


  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,032 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Would you go to a maternity hospital for gender reassignment surgery? It draws mainly on the specialisms of endocrinology and plastic surgery, and in the UK the NHS provides it in general hospitals, not maternity hospitals.

    I read the consultants letter as saying that the NMH currently offers transgender reproductive services, not gender reassignment surgery.

    The unavailability of gender reassignment surgery in Ireland may be a problem that needs fixing, but trying to connect it to the row over the construction and control of the new maternity hospital is probably not going to be a very productive way of getting it fixed.


    They are the one's who referred to gender reassignment procedures.
    All medical procedures, in accordance with the laws of the land, are available in SVHG hospitals, including pregnancy termination, tubal ligation and gender reassignment procedures.
    https://www.stvincents.ie/briefing-documents-on-national-maternity-hospital-at-elm-park-dac/

    I am merely pointing out that currently no hospital in Ireland carries these out so it's disingenuous of St Vincent's to even introduce the topic in their "look how absolutely un Catholicy we are" statement.

    They are not currently carrying out gender reassignment procedures. That claim is a lie.


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


    But the doctors dont want to hand it over to the State? Bishop Doran's comments were not unhelpful. What was helpful was certain journalists presenting his words as he has some kind of control over the site.

    I'm not exactly sure why there is a ?-mark after your mention of what the doctors want to do. The doctor quoted in the article-link above has made it clear that religious ethics will have no part as far as she is concerned where it comes to making medical decisions on the healthcare she and other doctors would provide at the planned new NMH at St Vincent's Healthcare Group on the Elm Park campus.

    The bishop helpful to whom? The bishops "advice" on their ethical obligations to the RC church left the order in a cleft stick situation around the time the papers revealed details of the deal being done between the NMH and the order. The advice was clearly meant to prevent the order from going ahead with the deal and allowing medical abortion to happen in a hospital built on lands the order owned.

    Maybe the bishop was worried about the nuns eternal souls when he reminded them of their ethical obligations to mother church and what it stood for, as against the medical obligations of the NMH doctors to their present and future patients which would transfer to the new NMH with the same doctors. The bishop is from another diocese to the one the NMH is in and he has no control whatever over the order or the present NMH and future NMH at the Elm Park campus owned by the order.


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


    What this exercise has revealed that it would in fact be unethical (by their standards) of the Sisters to allow the land to be used for such purposes. It seemed to me that this was being set up so the sisters could have "clean hands" when abortions took place at the hospital because it was all somewhat vague and hidden behind euphemism. But this has come down to basically the sisters having to defend the proposed transfer by saying "don't worry, abortions will happen". Would not be surprised for them to be pressured to pull out of the deal, it's not as if they have gotten any thanks for it anyway.

    True enough, Bishop Doran landed them in hot water with his reminder in the newspapers to them of their RC ethical obligations, leaving them without even a fig-leaf to cover themselves. I cant imagine them giving him thanks for his intentions.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,048 ✭✭✭ Yellow_Fern


    aloyisious wrote: »
    The bishop helpful to whom? The bishops "advice" on their ethical obligations to the RC church left the order in a cleft stick situation around the time the papers revealed details of the deal being done between the NMH and the order. The advice was clearly meant to prevent the order from going ahead with the deal and allowing medical abortion to happen in a hospital built on lands the order owned.

    This claim isnt compatible with the evidence. Doran didnt even did not specifically mention the National Maternity Hospital in his comments to the newspaper and that he was speaking “in general terms” as the NMH is not in his diocese and he was unfamiliar with the legal relationship between the Sisters of Charity and St Vincent’s Healthcare Group (SVHG).

    I sincerely don't think he was trying to prevent anything. Although if his comments mean the state doesn't get the land then I think that is a great outcome but I wish there wasnt his pointless and wasteful delay.
    aloyisious wrote: »
    I'm not exactly sure why there is a ?-mark after your mention of what the doctors want to do. The doctor quoted in the article-link above has made it clear that religious ethics will have no part as far as she is concerned where it comes to making medical decisions on the healthcare she and other doctors would provide at the planned new NMH at St Vincent's Healthcare Group on the Elm Park campus.

    There is a reason why the letter didnt call for private ownership


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


    This claim isnt compatible with the evidence. Doran didnt even did not specifically mention the National Maternity Hospital in his comments to the newspaper and that he was speaking “in general terms” as the NMH is not in his diocese and he was unfamiliar with the legal relationship between the Sisters of Charity and St Vincent’s Healthcare Group (SVHG).

    I sincerely don't think he was trying to prevent anything. Although if his comments mean the state doesn't get the land then I think that is a great outcome but I wish there wasnt his pointless and wasteful delay.



    There is a reason why the letter didnt call for private ownership

    This is the ?-marked sentence you wrote about the doctors: But the doctors don't want to hand it over to the State?

    Handing it over to the state is not handing it over to private ownership. The order handing it over to SVHG would be keeping the property in private ownership.

    Ref Bishop Doran and his interview with the paper: it doesn't take any shade of bias to understand that Bishop Doran meant his words for a particular audience outside his diocese.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 26,532 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Back in the day, if you went to the UK for an abortion, returned to Ireland, and then had complications which required investigation or treatment in hospital, you generally went to the Rotunda for that.

    But of course abortion only became legal in the UK in 1967

    Before that, and probably for a while after, it would have been backstreet abortions in Ireland.

    Trans rights are human rights. 🦄 🌈 💕



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


    But of course abortion only became legal in the UK in 1967

    Before that, and probably for a while after, it would have been backstreet abortions in Ireland.
    Yes. And I suspect that at that time if a woman had complications from a back-street abortion she might have been too ashamed, or to scared, to seek hospital treatment. So I don't know if the Rotunda has acquired a reputation as the hospital where you would go.

    But it was certainly filling that role in the 1980s. Rightly or wrongly, there was a perception that a woman in this situation would get a more sympathetic reception in the Rotunda than in the Coombe or Holles St.

    Garibaldi's suggestion that the Rotunda had a ward dedicated to the purpose is quite wrong; the number of women seeking hospital treatment for post-termination complications was nowhere near enough to require a dedicated ward. Women in this situation were treated along with patients who had, e.g., suffered a miscarriage and needed treatment in connection with that.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,032 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe


    Peregrinus wrote: »



    Garibaldi's suggestion that the Rotunda had a ward dedicated to the purpose is quite wrong; the number of women seeking hospital treatment for post-termination complications was nowhere near enough to require a dedicated ward. Women in this situation were treated along with patients who had, e.g., suffered a miscarriage and needed treatment in connection with that.

    It may be that it was similar to the 'Honda Ward' in the old Orthopedic Hosp in Cork. It wasn't really called the Honda ward - it was so nicknamed because anyone who had a serious motorbike accident tended to end up there.

    "Where's Stitchey?"
    "He's up in the Honda Ward bai"

    We all knew what that meant. :D

    From that answer we can deduce Stitchey is male, has had a fairly serious motorbike related accident, and is in the Orthopaedic hosp.

    The ward wasn't dedicated to motorbike accidents - it was one of the male public wards where the male victims of motorbike accidents tended to be treated.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,049 ✭✭✭ groovyg


    This interview on Drivetime recently on governance structures of the new NMH raised a few questions about how the NMH will operate within the SVHG. The structures and set up are all very confusing and yet the clinicians who signed the letter are all confident everything will be fine!

    If the State are going to be funding this hospital they should own and control it
    https://www.rte.ie/radio/radioplayer/html5/#/radio1/21971100


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


    groovyg wrote: »
    This interview on Drivetime recently on governance structures of the new NMH raised a few questions about how the NMH will operate within the SVHG. The structures and set up are all very confusing and yet the clinicians who signed the letter are all confident everything will be fine!

    If the State are going to be funding this hospital they should own and control it
    https://www.rte.ie/radio/radioplayer/html5/#/radio1/21971100
    Well, I'm confused. But I get the sense that the management and administration of medical services is massively, massively complex, and utterly confusing to everyone who isn't steeped in it.

    I think the state should control this hospital. I'm less concerned about who owns it, except to the extent - if any - that ownership affects control.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,049 ✭✭✭ groovyg


    This is a bizarre statement - since when is owning the land you are building on inappropriate.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/state-ownership-of-maternity-hospital-land-would-be-inappropriate-1.4608214?mode=amp
    It would be "inappropriate" for the State to own the land on which the new national maternity hospital will be built, a private meeting of the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) has been told.

    Sources said that at the annual general meeting of the NMH yesterday, board member Stephen Vernon said it would be "entirely inappropriate" for the State to have both a freehold and leasehold of the site.

    The National Maternity Hospital is due to relocate from Holles Street to the campus of St Vincent's Hospital.

    The Government has said it wants to own the land on which the hospital will be built, rather than having a 99-year lease, which is envisaged.

    Ministers have also expressed concerns at what they say is insufficient State representation on the board that will govern the new hospital.

    The St Vincent's Healthcare Group has said it must retain ownership of the site on which the hospital will be built.

    Another senior board member is understood to have told the private meeting yesterday that the State, Holles Street and St Vincent's Hospital have agreed to insert a legally binding term into the agreement for the relocation of the hospital that all procedures legally available in the State will happen in the new hospital.

    He was speaking as campaigners continue to raise concerns about a potential religious influence or ethos in the new hospital.

    The Religious Sisters of Charity own the land on which the new hospital will be built, and they plan to transfer it to a new holding company, which will lease the land to the State.

    The Sisters of Charity have said they will play no part in the company or running of the hospital, but campaigners say there are outstanding issues.

    Senior clinicians in the NMH were briefed at the meeting yesterday about the status of the relocation project. Legal advisors to the NMH told the meeting they had no concerns about the planned new structures, sources said.

    They said that every procedure that is currently available in Holles Street will be available in the new hospital.

    Legal advisers said it was their opinion that the lease would be very hard to terminate.

    They also said the Minister for Health will have a "golden share" in the new company that will run the hospital, which will mean he effectively has a veto on any decisions made by the board that the Government is uncomfortable with.


    Taoiseach Micheál Martin said earlier this week that he still has concerns around the governance of the new hospital.

    The project has been mired in political controversy after the Government admitted there were a number of problems in proceeding with the relocation, primarily around governance and ownership.

    Former master of the national maternity hospital Dr Peter Boylan is understood to have raised concerns at the meeting, sources say, around the proposed governance structure for the new hospital. He is also said to have raised questions around the business case for the move, which has yet to be formally submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure.

    The meeting was told the HSE is in the process of approving that business case but that the department wants to explore "alternative options". There was no elaboration on what these options would be


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,425 ✭✭✭ uptherebels


    groovyg wrote: »
    This is a bizarre statement - since when is owning the land you are building on inappropriate.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/state-ownership-of-maternity-hospital-land-would-be-inappropriate-1.4608214?mode=amp

    Would the state owning the land prevent st Vincent's healthcare group/ st Vincent's holding company from procuring loans against the hospital even if they "owned" the hospital?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,279 ✭✭✭ NuMarvel


    groovyg wrote: »
    This is a bizarre statement - since when is owning the land you are building on inappropriate.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/state-ownership-of-maternity-hospital-land-would-be-inappropriate-1.4608214?mode=amp

    I can't figure it out either. And the guy who said it has a long history in property (this is him), so you'd think he of all people would know the pitfalls of not owning the land you're building on.

    The only interpretation I can think of is that he thinks this should just be between the NMH and SVHG, and the State getting involved to this degree is inappropriate. I can see why he may think that (if that's what it is) considering a) the State has no ownership rights and minimal governance input into the current NMH, and b), the original agreement with the State for the new hospital was along those lines as well.

    I don't in anyway agree with him though. Public policy over the 50 years or so has been that hospitals built with state funds are either owned and run by the State (eg Cork University Maternity Hospital), or have boards set up by the State to do the job (eg Beaumont, Tallaght, the new Children's Hospital). The new NMH won't be either of those, and I don't see any valid reasons as to why it should be the exception.


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


    groovyg wrote: »
    This interview on Drivetime recently on governance structures of the new NMH raised a few questions about how the NMH will operate within the SVHG. The structures and set up are all very confusing and yet the clinicians who signed the letter are all confident everything will be fine!

    If the State are going to be funding this hospital they should own and control it
    https://www.rte.ie/radio/radioplayer/html5/#/radio1/21971100

    This attitude of not linking ownership or at least a legal vestige of a partnership in exchange for the funding provided by the state [from the Dep'ts of Finance and Public Expenditure] to the building of the NMH sounds like the line adapted by the board of the Bank in ruination to the Govt some years back "Shut Up And Give Us The Moolah". The words "No Taxation [money] Without Representation" sound like the line that should be used by the Gov't in discussion with the SVHG. If SVHG want to play hardball, the other team should oblige.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,532 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    No state funding without state control

    Let's apply that to the schools as well.

    This is the third decade of the 21st century and the catholic church still has our nation over a barrel, and a substantial proportion of the population still think this is right and normal.

    Trans rights are human rights. 🦄 🌈 💕



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


    I also don't understand why it would be "inappropriate" for the State to own the land on which the State builds a hospital.

    However . . .
    Would the state owning the land prevent st Vincent's healthcare group/ st Vincent's holding company from procuring loans against the hospital even if they "owned" the hospital?
    If the land is let for 99 years at a nominal rent, with a renewal option for another 50, the landlord's interest is not valuable, and wouldn't be an attractive security for a loan. No bank would accept it.
    NuMarvel wrote: »
    I can't figure it out either. And the guy who said it has a long history in property (this is him), so you'd think he of all people would know the pitfalls of not owning the land you're building on..
    Most of Ireland's towns and cities were developed by people building on land of which they were not the freehold owners. The development lease - a long lease at a low rent under which the lessee would build on the land - was the norm. From what I can gather that seems to be the model that SVHG is proposing here. Why, I'm not sure. But it's not a novelty, by any means.


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


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I also don't understand why it would be "inappropriate" for the State to own the land on which the State builds a hospital.
    The article above says that the "board member Stephen Vernon said it would be "entirely inappropriate" for the State to have both a freehold and leasehold of the site" - which is fair enough - no point in having two governing contracts when one will do. Preemption, the legal trickery which takes place when multiple contracts are in place regarding a single entity and one has to decide which contract has priority, can be problematic - all the more so, I'd have thought, when the contracting parties are the same for both contracts.

    The legal solution is easy enough - the religious give or sell the land to the state and the state builds a hospital. The religious have been quick enough to sell land to developers to build accommodation where, presumably, gay sex has taken place, so they've clearly no objection to selling something for cash, where things subsequently take place which are contrary to their religious notions.


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


    I think what's going on with the Sisters of Charity may be this:

    They own this land but, like all their property, they are not free to use it as they wish; it has to be used for the purposes of the order, which include health care, education, pastoral and social work, etc, etc. This is not only a moral obligation but also a legal one both under canon law and under Irish law.

    So, if they sell it for full value, it's no longer their property. They don't care what the purchaser does with it. Instead, their property is now a big bucket of money, and they must use that for health care, education, etc, etc.

    If they simply make a present of the land to somebody, or sell it for a nominal sum, or whatever, with no conditions attached, that's not using it for health care etc.

    So, if they "gift" this land to the state, as has been headlined, that can't be an unconditional gift. It has to be subject to a condition that it will be used for health care etc, and there has to be a mechanism for monitoring and enforcing that condition.

    This, I suspect, is why they are proposing the SVHG mechanism. SVHG will own the land, and will enter into a contract with the NMH/the HSE/the State under which one of those agencies will have possession of the land for free, on condition that they build and conduct a hospital on it.

    It may be that they would also use the SVHG mechanism to try to ensure that healthcare at the hospital is conducted in accordance with Catholic ethical precepts. Peter Boylan, at any rate, is clearly worried they might, and at the very least we'd have to say that its a legitimate concern. But I don't think we need to assume that this the driver of their desire to use the SVHG mechanism; it can be explained without that.

    If this is correct, there are two possible solutions to the problem.

    1. The state buys the land for value. The Sisters of Charity have no further involvement in the hospital, but instead use the sale proceeds of the land for other health care, etc, purposes.

    2. An agreement is negotiated between SVHG and the state, the terms of which satisfy SVHG that the state will build and run a hospital on the land, and satisfy the state that SVHG won't attempt, and won't be in a position to attempt, to regulate the running of the hospital in the way that Boylan and others fear.

    Option 1 is neater and cleaner but, of course, likely to be much more expensive.


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


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I think what's going on with the Sisters of Charity may be this:

    They own this land but, like all their property, they are not free to use it as they wish; it has to be used for the purposes of the order, which include health care, education, pastoral and social work, etc, etc. This is not only a moral obligation but also a legal one both under canon law and under Irish law.

    I'd be interested in understanding how they are legally obliged in this manner under Irish Law. Best I can think of is by contractual obligation to some other 3rd party, most likely another body within the RCC.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,048 ✭✭✭ Yellow_Fern


    Tony O'Brien take. As expected it is fanatically pro HSE.

    Key parts in bold.
    "A new episode of the long-running soap opera based on the planned relocation of the National Maternity Hospital from Holles Street to the site of St Vincent’s University Hospital has dominated the airwaves for the last ten days.

    The latest storyline centres on the question of ownership of the plot of land where the hospital is to be built.

    The row has erupted even though, just three years ago, Leo Varadkar’s coalition government signed off on the plan for St Vincent's Healthcare Group (SVHG) to lease the relevant land to the government for what was then to be 99 years.

    This was subsequently revised to 150 years, which is certainly longer than the new National Maternity Hospital’s realistic lifespan.

    Last week, opposition and government politicians alike were hyperventilating about what they now say is the absolute and overriding necessity for the state to own the land. The challenge, of course, is that the land is not for sale.

    SVHG may be forgiven for thinking that all of this was settled two and a half years ago by former health minister Simon Harris with the support of the government. After all, a government press release issued in December 2018 stated exactly that.

    In fact, both sides – including the government side that agreed the lease – are now making much of the importance of land ownership.

    The state, through both the Tánaiste and Taoiseach and a vote of the Dáil, has made state ownership of the land a red-line issue. This, they say, is critical to the clinical independence of the new maternity hospital.

    The board of SVHG, in declining to gift or sell the land, also made its continuing ownership of the land a red-line issue for what it called “integrated patient care” on the site, including the pre-existing adult acute hospital and the new maternity facility. Both arguments are equally bogus and disingenuous.

    High-quality integrated patient care depends on many things, but common ownership of the land on which adjacent hospitals are built is not one of them. There are ample examples here and abroad of clinical co-location working very successfully without any regard to who owns the land. This is such a patently illogical argument that it provokes suspicion of the real motive.

    Equally, the clinical independence of the new National Maternity Hospital does not, in any sense, turn on whether the land it is built on is owned or leased to the state or to the board of the maternity hospital. But it does depend on how the place is to be governed, and this is where the real problem lies.

    It is worth noting that the existing National Maternity Hospital is not built on state lands. It is by statute formally chaired by the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and yet two of the leading proponents of the Repeal the 8th movement are former masters there.


    The National Maternity Hospital currently has no apparent challenge providing the full range of services, including termination of pregnancy, which is now thought to be jeopardised by the move to St Vincent’s – because of the role of the Sisters of Charity.

    A strongly independent board and a strong heritage of clinical leadership at the National Maternity Hospital are key factors here.

    St Vincent’s, for its part, is an important hospital with many excellent clinicians providing high-quality care. But its overarching governance arrangements have often been the source of friction with the state.

    Questions about the lending and collateral arrangements for the private hospital built by the group, its compliance with public pay policy for senior managers, and its somewhat innovative approach to compliance with the consultant contract for public consultants not permitted off-site work have at times strained relationships.

    This has contributed to a relatively low trust environment for negotiations with SVHG on the future governance of the National Maternity Hospital. This has not been helped by the shareholders – the nuns – apparently being in the dark about the state’s offer to buy the land.

    Last week, the nuns said that they were unaware of such an offer despite it being made at the highest level to representatives of the board. Perhaps the offer wasn’t clear enough or big enough, but it has certainly raised eyebrows and doesn’t point to the most integrated form of governance within SVHG itself.

    What is perhaps the most perplexing aspect of this debacle is that the politics of this vital health service for women and newborn infants has pretty much been reduced to a debate about access to services made legal by the repeal of the 8th Amendment.

    While that kind of care is hugely important, it will only ever represent a tiny part of all the care services provided by the National Maternity Hospital.

    The National Maternity Hospital was one of the first places I visited when I became director general designate of the HSE in the depths of the recession in August 2012. Guided by Dr Rhona Mahony, the then master, I went to see first-hand the old, dilapidated infrastructure; in the neonatal intensive care unit, the walls were quite literally crumbling.

    ....CUT for copyright...

    The land is not the issue, and it never really was. It may be just a bizarre coincidence that both the National Maternity Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital are in the Dublin Bay South constituency, and that this row has blown up just as the writ was signed to trigger the by-election. It certainly has provided a hotline to the national airwaves for all the usual suspects.

    The real problem here is a board structure that makes the new National Maternity Hospital look like a subsidiary of SVHG, gives SVHG four board members, the National Maternity Hospital four, and the health minister the right to appoint just one public interest member.

    Ireland has a proud record of independent specialised maternity and gynaecology hospitals, and this should not be sacrificed now.

    Co-location with an adult acute hospital is the right model of care for the modern era — and all three of the Dublin maternity hospitals need to be relocated. But they do not need to be subsumed.

    There is an urgent need for the co-location of the National Maternity Hospital and for fit-for-purpose facilities.

    The National Maternity Hospital continues to need a truly independent board, not one balkanised at the behest of SVHG, and it certainly needs the continued strong clinical leadership that is its hallmark. These should be the only red lines here.

    Talk of compulsory purchase orders is just political shape-throwing, and does not represent a realistic proposition here, while moving to a different adult hospital site other than the campus at St Vincent’s would undo 15 years of progressive clinical networking and joint care pathways. It should only be contemplated as very a last resort.

    Ownership of the land is certainly not a good enough reason for this phoney war."
    https://www.businesspost.ie/health/tony-obrien-maternity-hospital-row-has-never-been-about-land-ownership-dce87672


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,279 ✭✭✭ NuMarvel


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I think what's going on with the Sisters of Charity may be this:

    They own this land but, like all their property, they are not free to use it as they wish; it has to be used for the purposes of the order, which include health care, education, pastoral and social work, etc, etc. This is not only a moral obligation but also a legal one both under canon law and under Irish law.

    So, if they sell it for full value, it's no longer their property. They don't care what the purchaser does with it. Instead, their property is now a big bucket of money, and they must use that for health care, education, etc, etc.

    If they simply make a present of the land to somebody, or sell it for a nominal sum, or whatever, with no conditions attached, that's not using it for health care etc.

    So, if they "gift" this land to the state, as has been headlined, that can't be an unconditional gift. It has to be subject to a condition that it will be used for health care etc, and there has to be a mechanism for monitoring and enforcing that condition.

    This, I suspect, is why they are proposing the SVHG mechanism. SVHG will own the land, and will enter into a contract with the NMH/the HSE/the State under which one of those agencies will have possession of the land for free, on condition that they build and conduct a hospital on it.

    It may be that they would also use the SVHG mechanism to try to ensure that healthcare at the hospital is conducted in accordance with Catholic ethical precepts. Peter Boylan, at any rate, is clearly worried they might, and at the very least we'd have to say that its a legitimate concern. But I don't think we need to assume that this the driver of their desire to use the SVHG mechanism; it can be explained without that.

    If this is correct, there are two possible solutions to the problem.

    1. The state buys the land for value. The Sisters of Charity have no further involvement in the hospital, but instead use the sale proceeds of the land for other health care, etc, purposes.

    2. An agreement is negotiated between SVHG and the state, the terms of which satisfy SVHG that the state will build and run a hospital on the land, and satisfy the state that SVHG won't attempt, and won't be in a position to attempt, to regulate the running of the hospital in the way that Boylan and others fear.

    Option 1 is neater and cleaner but, of course, likely to be much more expensive.

    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.


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


    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?


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


    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?

    Possibly the doctors could only over-rule a patients objection/s to a move if they had actually started gynae operation procedures and a medical emergency arose which they could NOT resolve in Holles St but could at another hospital without the move putting the patient to more extreme risk. It depends also if the patient had signed an agreement form assenting to the operation, handing over bodily care to the surgical team. That would be my thoughts on your question.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,532 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    They're grand in Holles St, sure they can get ice out of the pub if they need it... :rolleyes:

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/holles-street-doctors-sought-ice-from-pub-to-help-patient-1.3069120
    Doctors from the National Maternity Hospital asked a local pub for ice to use in a desperate attempt to save the life of a patient, it has emerged.

    Up to three doctors rushed from Holles Street into the nearby bar looking for bags of ice to use during emergency treatment on Malak Thawley in May 2016.

    Ms Thawley (35) died after one of her main blood vessels was accidentally damaged during routine surgery for an ectopic pregnancy. The medical team needed the ice to cool her brain as they fought to save her life.

    “At first I thought it was a prank,” the barwoman told The Irish Times, referring to the arrival in O’Connor’s pub of a man wearing blue scrubs on a Sunday evening last May. “He said there had been an emergency in the hospital and he needed as much ice as I could give.”

    The woman filled a black plastic bag with ice as the man had no container. He left quickly in the direction of the hospital, 350m away. Shortly after, a woman in a white coat and another man in scrubs came in, also looking for ice. They said they were doctors from Holles Street. She filled two more black bags with ice and watched from the door as the pair ran down Lower Mount Street, towards Holles Street.

    Trans rights are human rights. 🦄 🌈 💕



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


    smacl wrote: »
    I'd be interested in understanding how they are legally obliged in this manner under Irish Law. Best I can think of is by contractual obligation to some other 3rd party, most likely another body within the RCC.
    A religious order's property is typically held on trust and, even if there isn't a formal trust established, the courts would imply one. The property of the Armalite Sisters is distinct from the personal property of the Mother Superior; she may control the property of the Armalite Sisters but that does not mean that she is legally entitled to treat it as her own; she must use it to advance the purposes for which the Armalite Sisters were established and for which property was paid or gifted to the order.


Advertisement