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‘No good reason’ land for new NMH can’t be transferred to the State by St Vincent’s – Sinn Féin health spokesperson

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Sinn Féin health spokesperson David Cullinane. Photo: Gareth Chaney.

Sinn Féin health spokesperson David Cullinane. Photo: Gareth Chaney.

Sinn Féin health spokesperson David Cullinane. Photo: Gareth Chaney.

There has not been one good reason put forward as to why St Vincent’s Healthcare Group cannot transfer the land on which the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) will be built to the State, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson David Cullinane said.

Deputy Cullinane reiterated that Sinn Féin believes the best way forward is for the new NMH to be built on public land given the public is spending such an “enormous” amount of money on the project.

The project is forecast to cost the State in the region of €1bn to construct.

Sinn Féin will this week table a motion calling for the new NMH to be built on public land and Mr Cullinane said the current proposed deal between State and the hospital group is “complicated and convoluted”.

“No good reason has been given to me, to many in opposition or to healthcare campaigners as to why we cannot see the transfer of the land from St Vincent’s Healthcare Group to the State, which would remove all of the ambiguity which currently exists,” Mr Cullinane told RTÉ’s This Week programme.

Mr Cullinane said that due to “legal ambiguity” around the leasehold the State would have over the land on which the NMH would be built, “we must get this 100pc right”.

While the Sinn Féin health spokesperson acknowledged Holles St is not fit for purpose and healthcare professionals want a new NMH, he said: “we equally have a wider responsibility that yes, we have the best outcome for clinicians and women, but it also has to be the best outcome for taxpayers.

“We were told there were no preconditions laid down by the Sisters of Charity when they transferred the land to St Vincent’s, and if you take that at face value, it is entirely within the gift of the healthcare group to do with the land what they please.

“I don’t think it is beyond us [The Dáil] and them [St Vincent’s] to reach a point where we have full public ownership to remove any ambiguity,” Mr Cullinane said on RTÉ’s This Week .

“We’re locking ourselves into a legal framework for decades and hundreds of years to come so it’s really, really important that…we get this absolutely right.”

Meanwhile, Minister of State Thomas Byrne said he can say with “absolute certainty” there is no issue with the term “clinically appropriate” in the constitution of the new NMH, and hoped that the government proceed with current intentions for the NMH to proceed as planned.

Earlier former Master of the NMH at Holles St, Dr Rhona Mahony told RTÉ’s Brendan O’Connor show she was in favour of the NMH moving to the Vincent’s campus and said “all procedures” will be performed in the new NMH, and that not pressing ahead with current plans would be setting women’s healthcare in Ireland back by two decades.

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