Thousands vow to stop religious group Sisters of Charity from owning new National Maternity Hospital
By Stephen McDermott, April 19, 2017, Irish Mirror
More than 18,000 people have signed a petition to block the Sisters of Charity from becoming the owners of the new National Maternity Hospital.
There has been public outrage at the Government’s decision to hand the €300million facility to the order which ran the depraved Magdalene laundries.
The Woman’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) became the latest body to hit out at the plan despite the nuns still owing €3million towards the redress fund for abuse survivors.
NWCI spokeswoman Niamh Allen said: “NWCI is still very concerned that no solution was found for the new National Maternity Hospital that would not involve the ownership and close co-operation of a religious order.
“This is all the more disappointing given that the Religious Sisters of Charity have so far failed to provide its share of funds to the redress scheme for victims of institutional abuse.”
It was announced this week that the order which helped manage Magdalene laundries will be the “sole owner of the new hospital” when it moves to its new St Vincent’s campus in 2021.
A number of politicians have also voiced their opposition to the move, and now a member of the campaigning group Uplift has called for the Department of Health to rethink their plans.
Its spokeswomen Emily Duffy said: “This is an issue that people in Ireland are clearly outraged about.
“It’s rare we see a petition go viral so rapidly, and it shows that people are deeply troubled by the State’s utter disregard for the many victims of abuse which took place in institutions run by orders such as the Sisters of Charity.”
The group also wishes to highlight the fact that the Sisters of Charity still owe millions towards the redress fund for abuse survivors.
People Before Profit TD, Bríd Smith has called for a special Dáil debate on the decision.
Deputy Smith said: “This decision is an insult to those victims of church abuse who went to the redress scheme and who know the foot dragging and contempt this order has shown over the last decades in relation to paying up for their past crimes.”
The former chairman of the Workplace Relations Commission Kieran Mulvey, acted as a mediator between Holles St and St Vincent’s hospitals, confirmed that the owed money did not feature during negotiations.
A protest by the Workers’ Party is to take place today THURS outside the Department of Health at Hawkin’s House on Poolbeg Street, Dublin 2 at 1pm.
Organiser Councillor Éilis Ryan said: “The reaction to the government’s decision on this matter speaks volumes.
“Our demonstration, only called yesterday, already has over 300 attendees registered and 1,200 more people interested.
“We hope that this demonstration sends a message to Minister Harris that we want decent, well-funded, public services.
“That means state-owned and state-run – not owned by any private body, whether it be the church, big corporations or anyone else.”