Monday 21 August 2017

Health Minister is 'a rabbit caught in headlights' over maternity hospital controversy - says Fianna Fáil

Minister has reacted to controversy over ownership of proposed National Maternity Hospital like 'a rabbit caught in headlights'

Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Health Minister Simon Harris has reacted to the controversy over the ownership of the proposed National Maternity Hospital like “a rabbit caught in headlights”, Fianna Fáil has claimed.

At the opening of the new Dáil term, Micheál Martin questioned why the Sisters of Charity want to own the €300m facility planned for a site beside St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

He demanded to know from Taoiseach Enda Kenny whether clinical independence at the hospital is guaranteed.

“Fundamentally I would put it to you Taoiseach, the State should own the hospital and the State’s investment should be reflected in the ownership model,” Mr Martin said.

Mr Kenny defended his minister saying the hospital needed to be built for the women of Ireland.

He said the current hospital at Holles Street “is not up to standard” and claimed this was partly because Mr Martin, during his time as Minister for Health, allowed the situation “to drift”.

The Taoiseach questioned what Fianna Fáil wanted him to do given that the Sister of Charity own the site at St Vincent’s.

He said Mr Harris “has asked for and been given a month by Government to allow space” for the issues to resolved.

Mr Kenny added that the minister believes “further absolute reassurance” in relation to the ownership can be obtained.

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