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Friday 21 July 2017

'This is an insult to abuse survivors' - Protesters on the ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital

People gather to protest against plans to allow Sisters of Charity to own new National Maternity Hospital
People gather to protest against plans to allow Sisters of Charity to own new National Maternity Hospital
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

The Catholic Church should have no involvement in women's health care, according to protesters gathered in Dublin today.

Dozens of people took part in a protest outside the Department of Health this afternoon, calling on Minister Harris to prevent the ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital going to the Sisters of Charity.

The protest was organised by Councillor Éilis Ryan of the Workers Party, who said Mr Harris should be "spending less time on Twitter" and more time negotiating.

"It's grand to be telling us there's nothing to worry about on Twitter, but we would prefer if you actually got involved in negotiations and didn't leave it to doctors to make public health statements."

Minister Harris has come under strong criticism since it was announced that the ownership of the new €300m National Maternity Hospital - which will be funded by the tax payer - will be handed over to the controversial religious order.

A married couple who travelled up from Kildare for the protest said "it would be an insult to abuse survivors" to allow the Sisters of Charity to have ownership of the hospital.

People gather to protest against plans to allow Sisters of Mercy to own new National Maternity Hospital
People gather to protest against plans to allow Sisters of Mercy to own new National Maternity Hospital

"I wasn't allowed in with my wife when she gave birth to our child because nuns said it wasn't right. They should be allowed to have any involvement.

"It is also a slap in the face for abuse victims."

Sisters of Charity ran some of the notorious Magdalene Laundries workhouses and were ordered to pay the State €5m towards redress for abuse victims.

The order has not fulfilled this obligation and still owes the state €3m.

A nationwide protest is due to take place outside a number of hospitals on Saturday, including St Vincent's Hospital where the new maternity hospital is due to be built.

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