Tuesday 20 March 2018

'It’s not acceptable that women have to fight for healthcare' - Dr Ciara Kelly slams proposed maternity hospital move

Dr Ciara Kelly on the Late Late Show
Dr Ciara Kelly on the Late Late Show

Hayley Halpin

Dr. Ciara Kelly has lashed out against move to make the Sisters of Charity the sole owners of the new National Maternity Hospital

Dr. Kelly criticised the religious order in showing a "significant failure of atonement" in failing to pay off their outstanding debt to the redress scheme, adding that there was a "huge anger" among the public.

"The big thing is about the ethos. There is a long history of conflict between the church and providing women’s health in this country. The church does not approve of contraception, sterilisation, IVF, egg freezing," Dr. Kelly said.

"It’s not acceptable that women have to fight for healthcare in this country."

Speaking on Friday night's Late Late Show, Dr. Kelly recalled her time working in Holles Street in the early years of her career, "when obstetricians still had to make things up in order to be able to do a sterilisation on a woman.2

Dr. Kelly questioned how there could not be points of conflict in making the nuns the owners of the National Maternity Hospital, "where all they deal with is women’s health and sexual health2.

"It seems to be quite logical that the Sisters owe some money to the State. The State want to buy a plot of land on the Sisters’ site in St. Vincent’s. That’s not rocket science.

"Let’s buy a plot of land, let’s own the hospital and let the hospital be there for the women of Ireland," she suggested.

  1. Read more: National maternity hospital explainer: The nuns, the €300m in taxpayer's money, and the suddenly-quiet health minister
  2. Read more: 'This is an insult to abuse survivors' - Protesters on the ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital

Earlier in the week, Dr. Kelly spoke on Newstalk’s Alive and Kicking, arguing that the decision to grant ownership to the religious order was "financial stupidity".

"We should not be spending €300 million on a hospital and not owning it."

Meanwhile, former Labour Party leader Joan Burton has slammed Minister for Health Simon Harris as being "hapless, helpless and hopeless" in dealing with the plans.

"We need a new National Maternity Hospital for the 21st century, and we need it as soon as possible," TD Burton said.

"But we want it in public ownership and trust, to ensure the best of care for women and babies, and we want a hospital that provides the full range of services," Minister Burton said.

Burton criticised the Minister for completing secret deals, with no publication of the agreement to provide the ownership of the hospital to the Sisters.

"So, I am calling on the Minister to make public the agreement reached with St Vincent’s, as the people have a right to see what the Minister has signed up to in their name.

"Minister publish the deal. Publish it next week, and publish it in full. Our citizens are entitled to know and not be treated as infants and babies, patted on the head and told all will be well," Minister Burton said.

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