70K sign a petition against the Sisters of Charity taking over the national maternity hospital
There has been public outcry after it was announced that the religious order The Sisters of Charity would be taking ownership of the national maternity hospital.
The religious order ran the infamous Magdalene laundries and have refused to pay reparations to the survivors of abuse who lived there.
The Sisters of Charity own the land at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin 4 where the new hospital will be built, according to The Journal.
A petition has been launched to stop the group taking ownership of the hospital by the group Uplift. So far, it has over 70,000 signatories.
Many TDs and public figures have also backed the campaign.
The Sisters of Charity was identified as one of the residential institutions responsible for child abuse in the Ryan report in 2009, according to Uplift.
They still owe €3 million to the redress scheme for its survivors but in 2013 they stated they would not be making any contributions to the redress scheme for women who had been abused in the Magdalene Laundries.
Emily Duffy of Uplift, the group behind the petition, 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.”
Denise Kiernan, who created the petition, plans to send it to Health Minister Simon Harris and the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Public Petitions.
Minister Harris has been accused of “hypocrisy” over the issue as he previously criticised the institution over their handling of financial matters, according to The Irish Independent. He has insisted that the hospital will be run independently.
In a statement, the Department of Health said: “The identity and ethos of the current NMH will be retained.
The new company will have clinical and operational independence in the provision of maternity, gynaecology and neonatal services, without religious, ethnic or other distinction, as well as financial and budgetary independence.
“This independence will be assured by the reserved powers which are set out in the agreement and which will be copper fastened by the golden share which will be held by the Minister for Health.
"These reserved powers can only be amended with the unanimous written approval of the Directors and with the approval of the Minister for Health.”
Kieran Mulvey acted as a mediator between Holles Street, the current site of the national maternity hospital, and St Vincent’s during the negotiation process.
He admitted on Today with Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1, that the reparations owed by the Sisters of Charity to the redress scheme was not discussed during negotiations to move the hospital.
Click here if you wish to sign the petition.