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Conscience Magazine

Following Protests, New National Maternity Hospital in Dublin Will Have Secular Ownership

November 16, 2017

The Religious Sisters of Charity, a Catholic organization long-implicated in the abuse of children and women, has ended its involvement with the St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group. By stepping down, the Sisters of Charity will relinquish all potential power over the relocated National Maternity Hospital, which is to be constructed on the St. Vincent’s Hospital campus. The decision follows a period of public protest centered on church–state relations and the role of Catholic institutions in the management of public services in Ireland. Though the National Maternity Hospital insisted that the Sisters of Charity’s partial ownership and involvement would not have significant impact on the administration of the hospital, the public disagreed. In response to these sentiments, the board of the healthcare group promised that its hospital facilities “will not be subject to undue influence by individuals or from any source.” Minister of Health Simon Harris called the change in ownership a “very significant development for the healthcare sector,” explaining that the hospital group will now be more likely to comply with secular medical ethics standards.