Friday 28 July 2017

Nuns will get millions from sale of former hospital land

The Order of the Sisters of Charity is to receive a multi-million euro settlement as part of its exit from the St Vincent’s Hospital complex. Photo: PA
The Order of the Sisters of Charity is to receive a multi-million euro settlement as part of its exit from the St Vincent’s Hospital complex. Photo: PA

Eilish O'Regan and Cormac McQuinn

The Order of the Sisters of Charity is to receive a multi-million euro settlement as part of its exit from the St Vincent's Hospital complex in south Dublin, it was confirmed yesterday.

Members of the religious order are to sell the site of the former private hospital on the campus grounds to St Vincent's Healthcare Group for which they were receiving rent.

James Menton, chair of St Vincent's Healthcare Group, confirmed the site is being sold to the group at "commercial rates".

He said this small site would generate a sale price running into "single" rather than double digit millions.

"It is a very modest amount when you think of the number of religious sisters who worked without remuneration," he said.

It is currently used as the Herbert wing for the public hospital.

Dr Peter Boylan: decision is a brave one. Photo: Tom Burke
Dr Peter Boylan: decision is a brave one. Photo: Tom Burke

They were paid €14.6m in rent from St Vincent's Private Hospital over 13 years.

The rent paid by St Vincent's Private Hospital to the order is listed as €1.2m in 2015, the most recent year for which accounts are available.

A total of €14.6m was paid to the order over the years 2003 to 2015 inclusive according to accounts.

The rent went up from €1m per year up to 2007 to €1.2m since 2008.

Confirmation came as the order, currently the only shareholder of St Vincent's Healthcare Group, announced it is relinquishing all ownership and management of the healthcare complex which includes St Vincent's public and private hospitals as well as St Michael's Hospital in Dún Laoghaire.

This paves the way for the new €300m National Maternity Hospital, which will be built on the campus, to be run without any potential Catholic religious ethos restriction.

The decision to give ownership of the maternity hospital to the order caused an outcry.

Dr Peter Boylan, former master of the National Maternity Hospital, who was one of the strongest critics of the nuns' ownership, said their stepping down was a "brave decision".

Health Minister Simon Harris said it was "historic" and it will be free of religious influence.

Kieran Mulvey, who brokered an agreement on the running of the new hospital said it effectively underpinned the deal.

Mr Menton confirmed the maternity hospital will be owned by St Vincent's Healthcare Group.

Responding to the claim that because the State is building the new hospital it should own it, he said this argument is "facile and inaccurate".

He said the State is not the "sole financier" of the facility.

He said the board of the current National Maternity Hospital in Holles St will donate the proceeds of the sale of its building which will be in tens of millions of euro.

"We are giving a site free - gratis - to the taxpayer, worth tens of millions," he said.

The department is a partner in the agreement, he added.

He said women who will attend the new hospital will benefit from having an acute hospital a "few hundred yards down the corridor", in keeping with the maternity strategy.

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News