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The National Maternity Hospital is to move from Holles Street.
vincents hospital group

Sisters of Charity transfer share of hospital group to charity, lifting obstacle to NMH plans

The development is part of years of debate about the ownership of the site of the new National Maternity Hospital.

THE ST VINCENT’S HOSPITAL Group (SVHG) has said that a shareholding in SVHG held by the Religious Sisters of Charity has been transferred to a new charity.

The charity is St. Vincent’s Holdings CLG, a not-for-profit company with charitable status that is governed by Irish Company Law.

The development is part of years of debate about the ownership of the site of the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) and its governance. 

The hospital is currently located at Holles Street in Dublin city centre, but is set to move to Elm Park, where it will be co-located with St Vincent’s Hospital.

Religious group Sisters of Charity owned the land on which the NMH is to be built and it had been proposed that the proposed deal would see the religious order owning the facility because it was providing the lands at no cost to the State. 

Following the increasing opposition to the plans, the Sisters of Charity announced an end to their involvement with the SVHG in 2017 said they would therefore not be involved in the ownership or management of the new NMH

The transfer of their shareholding of the SVHG has been beset with delays, however, and it had even been suggested that a location for the hospital may be needed to resolve the ongoing issues. 

In a statement today, however, chair of SVHG James Menton said that the transfer had been completed. 

“Today is very significant for St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group and for Ireland’s healthcare sector,” he said. 

The Sisters’ role in the development of modern healthcare for Irish people from all walks of life cannot be underestimated and we thank them sincerely for their commitment, dedication and service.Moreover we are very grateful to them for vesting substantial and valued healthcare facilities in the St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group (as represented by shareholders’ funds in SVHG of €204 million as at 31 December 2020). We wish them well in their ongoing charitable work both in Ireland and abroad. 

Sister Patricia Lenihan, superior general in the Religious Sisters of Charity, said in the same statement that they “will have no role in the future of the new independent charity, the St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group, St. Vincent’s Holding CLG or the new National Maternity Hospital.”

“We will continue to care for people who are sick and/or poor, those nearing the end of life, people who are homeless, refugees and those who are victims of human trafficking as well as carrying on our work to develop and deliver education programmes,” she said. 

The proposed connection between the religious group and the new Maternity Hospital has sparked intense political debate as well as demonstrations and activism in recent years.

Opposition to the plans for the ownership structure included various political parties and former master of the NMH Dr Peter Boylan

Protests were held today during a Fianna Fail Women’s Health Conference where Health Minister Stephen Donnelly was speaking. 

Speaking at the protest, activist Layla Wade told the PA news agency that a full range of health services should be provided at the new maternity hospital, including abortion, sterilisation, and IVF.

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