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New National Maternity Hospital: St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group refuses to sell or give up ownership of site

DUBLIN: St. Vincent Healthcare Group (SVHG) has said that it will not sell or give up ownership of the site on which the new National Maternity Hospital will be built. On Tuesday, SVHG said that it will retain ownership of the site, which was previously valued at €200 million.

The group says the new hospital building will be owned by the State forever, but that it will retain ownership of the land and lease it back to the State for an initial period of 99 years. The group’s private hospital will operate on a nearby site. They also stated that retaining ownership will allow for the “delivery of integrated patient care”.  

SVHG said in a statement that the new NMH will be clinically independent.

There will be no religious or Vatican influence. All medical procedures such as abortion, tubal ligation and gender reassignment are available at SVHG hospitals. The state’s interests will be protected by the Minister of Health’s detailed legal agreements and HSE service level agreements. SVHG must retain ownership of the Elm Park Campus in order to provide integrated patient care, the group explained.

Group’s website

Since May 2017, SVHG has published a number of briefing documents on its website, including letters of correspondence between the group and the Department of Health. According to the website, the site for the NMH is owned by the Sisters of Charity. St. Vincent University Hospital was founded over 200 years ago. The order announced in 2017 that they would transfer their shares to a newly formed charitable firm called St. Vincent’s Holdings (CLG). The charity has also relinquished ownership of the land on which NMH is to be built.

Endless dispute

The issue of ownership has resurfaced in recent weeks, with numerous political parties demanding that the government own both the land and the hospital. Taoiseach Micheál Martin said in the Dáil that “ownership is a key issue”.

Labour leader Alan Kelly TD has called on the Government to set a deadline for resolving the dispute. Kelly also asked to consider buying land through a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said over the weekend that a new location for the hospital would be required to meet existing issues. He also suggested that the State could buy the site.

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