St Vincent's Hospital Healthcare Group will meet this week to review its offer of a free site for the new National Maternity Hos- pital at its Dublin 4 campus.
The board of St Vincent's, which is providing the site to build the much-needed new hospital, is angry at the adverse public reaction to the decision to allow the Sisters of Charity to own the facility.
If it pulls the plug, it will mean another delay in the bid to find a new site for the €300m hospital, which currently occupies an outdated building in Holles Street.
A leaked copy of the 25-page agreement, worked out between the boards of Holles Street and St Vincent's, appears to confirm reassurances about the autonomy of the new hospital, stating that it will be protected by its own independent company.
It will be given reserved powers, which will allow it to provide services that are without religious, ethical or other distinctions.
The aim is also to protect the State's investment of €300m. It will not be possible to use the building as a means of acquiring a loan for a private facility, for instance.
Kieran Mulvey, the former industrial relations troubleshooter who mediated the deal between the two hospitals, is to be asked to appear before the Oireachtas Health Committee to be questioned on the details.
Yesterday, the Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran said he believed the Sisters of Charity would have to obey the rules of the Catholic Church if they become the owners of the hospital.
The bishop was at the centre of controversy in recent years after he resigned from the board of the Mater Hospital in Dublin.
He stepped down after the board said it would comply with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. That means a termination could be carried out at the hospital if a mother's life was at risk.