Donnelly to face questions over National Maternity Hospital

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly is set to face questions over the proposed National Maternity Hospital deal, with growing calls for the new hospital to be built on public land. 
Donnelly to face questions over National Maternity Hospital

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly is set to face questions over the proposed National Maternity Hospital deal, with growing calls for the new hospital to be built on public land.

Stephen Donnelly will appear before the Oireachtas health committee on Wednesday, the Irish Examiner reports.

It comes after Cabinet delayed signing off on building the hospital on land leased from a charitable trust.

Concerns from campaigners and opposition politicians have been raised over the phrase 'clinically appropriate' which features in the hospital's proposed constitution.

There are fears that some services, such as terminations, will be restricted or unavailable at the hospital.

Speaking to Newstalk, Simon McGarr of McGarr Solicitors said more clarity around these issues is needed before any deal is signed.

"It's already defined that they can only provide the services in a maternity hospital, but also, leaving that aside it doesn't really matter what's intended by one or other of the parities right now, but rather how that is interpreted in the future," Mr McGarr said.

A poll found 60 per cent of people are not satisfied with the plans for the hospital.

The Sunday Independent/Ireland Thinks poll found that 45 per cent of people think there would be religious interference in medical services, while 41 per cent believe that this will not be the case.

'Separation of church and State'

Commenting on the concerns of religious interference with services, People Before Profit TD Brid Smith said there needs to be full State ownership of the hospital.

"We've always called for the separation of church and State, that you can't have the interference of one into the other, it has to be very clear," Ms Smith told Newstalk.

"And here's an opportunity for the first time in 100 years for the State to make that break and to say absolutely this hospital has to be 100 per cent fully owned and controlled by the State for the women and girls of Ireland."

Ms Smith said a number of questions will be asked of the Minster for Health over the deal.

"I think there'll be a lot of questions about the nature of the lease and I think there will be questions about the outstanding documents and maps and things that we haven't seen.

"What uses will be made of different parts of the hospital?

"But also in relation to the lease, 299 which Micheál Martin repeatedly told us is so obviously ownership by another name.

" [Then] we find out later on that there is six conditions attached to that lease."

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