St James's bids to buy maternity hospital

Alan O'Keeffe

St JAMES'S Hospital, in Dublin, is in negotiations with Mount Carmel maternity hospital about a possible takeover.

However, any such takeover must ensure "the interests of public patients are protected", said Fianna Fail health spokesman Billy Kelleher today.

The private hospital on five acres in Churchtown is part of medical group owned by embattled developer Gerry Conlon, whose debts have been taken over by the National Assets Management Agency.

St James's, the largest public hospital in Ireland, issued a statement that it was having "very preliminary discussions" with Mount Carmel which were examining "the development of a link between the two hospitals".

Today, Mr Kelleher told the Herald that "no public monies" provided for the care of public patients should be diverted to any involvement with a private hospital.

St James's has informed Health Minister James Reilly of the ongoing talks between the two hospitals. The minister declared the interest of public patients "must remain paramount".


The exclusive maternity hospital, one of the last private maternity hospitals in the State, has been in business since 1949.

Mr Conlon, chairman of the group when established in 2003, has suffered financial problems since the economic meltdown.

He was one of a number of leading business people lent money by Anglo to buy its own shares.

The most recent accounts show Mount Carmel Medical Group (South Dublin) Ltd had net liabilities of €32m in 2008.