Friday 15 December 2017

Holles Street board votes 'overwhelmingly' to re-endorse maternity hospital agreement

Long standing: The national maternity hospital at Holles Street in Dublin city centre
Long standing: The national maternity hospital at Holles Street in Dublin city centre

Ryan Nugent

The board of the National Maternity Hospital has voted "overwhelmingly" to re-endorse the agreement reached with St Vincent's Healthcare Group last November.

The Holles Street board met tonight as controversy over ownership of the €300m hospital continues.

The agreement, which was reached with the help of mediator Kieran Mulvey, was published in full by Health Minister Simon Harris this week.

Speaking after the meeting two board members, Brendan Carr and Micheal Mac Donncha, confirmed they had voted against the endorsement.

"I didn't support the statement. I was very disappointed that they didn't seem to be cognisant of the serious concerns the people have, serious concerns of €300m of public money being put in to the development. And there didn't seem to be any attempt or any willingness at all for the majority of the members of the board to try and take that on board," Lord Mayor Brendan Carr said.

"This was all about reaffirming a decision that was made last November which has cause this problem in the first place," he added.

Councillor Micheal Mac Donncha said it was a "lengthy and tense meeting".

"I voted against that (the re-edorsement) because I still have major concerns, particularly because of major developments in the past week. The issue of ownership, which is of huge public concern, was not addressed," he added.

A statement released to the media after the board meeting said:

"The board of the NMH met this evening and welcomed yesterday's statement from St Vincent's Hospital and has re-endorsed its commitment to the agreement mediated by Kieran Mulvey in November last.

"This agreement provides that the clinical, financial and operation independence of the NMH at Elm Park shall be enshrined in its Memorandum and Articles of Association and all related legal agreements."

The board declined to comment further and did not respond when asked what was the status of board member Dr Peter Boylan.

Dr Boylan was asked to resign in an exchange of text messages between him and two other board members this week but he said he would not do so.

He has been among the most outspoken critics of the fact that under the deal the Religious Sisters of Charity will retain ownership of the land where the facility will be built.

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