Sunday 24 September 2017

Maternity hospital row should be over money - not the politics of fertility

The petty squabbles and vengeance against nuns are just distractions, argues Sarah Carey. The real issue is about hospital ownership

Independence: Master of Holles Street Rhona Mahony Photo: Anthony Woods
Independence: Master of Holles Street Rhona Mahony Photo: Anthony Woods

One mention of nuns and everyone loses the head. The idea of a maternity hospital built by the State but owned by a religious order, threw many into apoplexy this week.

Most objectors didn't seem to know that the National Maternity Hospital (aka Holles Street) has never been owned by the State either. It's another "voluntary hospital" owned by a private trust whose chair is the Archbishop of Dublin.

Despite this, its "Master" - the clinical head - functions completely independently and all manner of procedures, from legal abortions to sterilisations, are carried out without any interference from anyone.

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