Campaigners have delivered over 10,000 signatures on a petition calling for a public and secular National Maternity Hospital that is free from religious influence and capable of providing necessary reproductive healthcare.
Local constituents and Uplift members gathered outside Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s Cork South-Central constituency office today to deliver the petition, signed by over 10,000 people, calling for the new National Maternity Hospital to be publicly owned and secular.
Bernie Linnane, Chair of Our National Maternity Hospital group that started the petition, said that the bottom line is that the new National Maternity Hospital “must be publicly owned and it must be built on land that is publicly owned and it must be operated with a secular ethos with no religious interference whatsoever”.
“We originally submitted a petition a few years ago with well over 100,00 signatures on it calling for the hospital not to be given to the Religious Sisters of Charity which was the original plan,” she said.
She said there has been “some ducking and diving” by various ministers who since then came up with a scheme whereby a separate company would be formed to run the new hospital.
“This company is made up of two other companies, the existing National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street, and the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group, which is St Vincent’s Hospital, St Michael’s Hospital and St Vincent’s private.
“One reason is the religious ethos that hangs over every site owned by a religious organisation in the world and the other is handing a public asset paid for with public money to a private company, the successor of the religious sisters of charity is outrageous,” she said.