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'not on the cards' Taoiseach Micheal Martin rules out the compulsory purchase of new maternity hospital

Micheal Martin said there could be no perception of religious influence in the new facility planned for the St Vincent’s site in Dublin.


A general view of St Vincent’s University Hospital in south Dublin (PA)

A general view of St Vincent’s University Hospital in south Dublin (PA)

A general view of St Vincent’s University Hospital in south Dublin (PA)

The Taoiseach has ruled out using a compulsory purchase order to acquire the site of the new National Maternity Hospital.

Micheal Martin said such a process to take ownership of the land earmarked for the facility at the St Vincent’s Hospital site could take up to six years.

Mr Martin also said relocating the new hospital to a different site was not on the cards.

The planned relocation of the hospital from Dublin’s Holles Street to a site at Elm Park co-located with St Vincent’s Hospital has been mired in controversy linked to governance and ownership issues.

That land is owned by the Religious Sisters of Charity order.


Taoiseach Micheal Martin (PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin (PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin (PA)

The order has said it intends to gift the 29 acres of land to the Irish people, with ownership being transferred to a new independent charity, St Vincent’s Holdings.

Critics of the arrangements have questioned the independence of that charity and raised concern whether the hospital will operate under a Catholic ethos, with resultant consequences for the provision of abortion services.

Mr Martin, in an interview with RTE, said there could be no perception of the new hospital being influenced by a religious ethos.

“There can be no semblance, or even perception, that other influences, religious influences or whatever, can override what’s legally available in this state,” Mr Martin said.

“The women of Ireland are entitled to all legal available services and will be and we can provide for that too as a Government if necessary.”

Under current plans, the Government will fund the development of the new hospital building, which it will own, but it will not own the land on which it is built.

I don't believe in compulsory purchase orders either because it could take another five or six yearsMicheal Martin

St Vincent’s Healthcare Group has rejected calls to sell the land, saying it must own it “for the delivery of integrated patient care”. It intends to lease it to the Government on a long-term arrangement.

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Mr Martin said his preference would be for the state to own the facility “lock, stock and barrel”.

The Taoiseach said he also had issues with the governance arrangements at St Vincent’s and wanted more public representation on the hospital group’s board.

He said the issues around ownership of the land needed to be “ironed out” and he made clear that the Government had not yet signed a lease.

Mr Martin said liens – a form of creditor security – could be put on the property to enable the state to recover its investments in the hospital.

“I don’t believe a new site is on the cards, I certainly don’t,” he said.

“And I don’t believe in compulsory purchase orders either because it could take another five or six years.”

Mr Martin urged all sides in the matter to strive for a resolution.

“I think people need to hear what we’re saying from the Government side, work for the resolution of this,” he said.

“I’ve been honest and straight about this in respect to the Government’s perspective.

“I think other stakeholders need to be as well and need to get real too in terms of the realities of the modern era.”

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