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We didn't want control of Mount Carmel, says Reilly

THE Government knew about the crisis at Mount Carmel Hospital before Christmas but decided against taking it over as it was of no value to the health service, it has been revealed.

As a High Court application was made to appoint a liquidator to the private hospital, which has liabilities of more than €45m, Health Minister Dr James Reilly confirmed the Government had considered purchasing the facility.

Expectant mothers and other patients at the South Dublin hospital were last night in the dark about their continuing care, while 300 members of staff set to lose their jobs were mulling over their uncertain futures.

All admissions and elective operations have been cancelled at the facility, which while best known as a maternity hospital also offered other services.

NAMA supported the liquidation application by the Mount Carmel Hospital Group as it had been incurring significant losses since 2010.


The company made the application after what the High Court heard was "a disastrous 2013", and NAMA decided it was no longer in a position to provide working capital which allowed the hospital to trade.

Minister Reilly last night said that the possibility of the State purchasing the hospital had been looked at "extensively" during December.

But he added: "We couldn't see any way in its current format of it being of value to the public health system."

He described the appointment of a liquidator as "very upsetting" and said: "The health services will do everything they can to accommodate the needs of all patients."

Zoey Cunningham (32), from Ballinteer in south Dublin, gave birth to her daughter at the hospital seven weeks ago. She said she was sorry for the staff and added that she had received "absolutely great care".

Katherine Donnelly, from Rathfarnham in south Dublin, was visiting her daughter, who was due to have an operation at the hospital. She said: "I heard it this morning. It's terrible that there's 300 jobs gone. It's a very good hospital that serves the locality very well."

The newly-appointed liquidators from RSM Farrell Grant Sparks met with staff at the facility's restaurant at lunchtime and confirmed the job losses.

Throughout the afternoon, equipment loaned to the hospital from surgical companies was wheeled out. And as news of the liquidation spread, calls flooded in to RTE Liveline. One caller named Andrew, from Dunboyne, whose wife was due to give birth at the hospital in April, told the Herald that they had spent more than €2,000 on fees, paying €750 as recently as Thursday.

"Aside from the cost, there's discomfort for my wife as she now has to change probably consultants but certainly the hospital she was going to," he said.

Andrew added they had no back-up option because "when you're going private you just assume everything is going to be okay, you're guaranteed a room".