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Sisters of Charity to transfer land to state for National Maternity Hospital

The Vatican has given the go-ahead for the transfer of the ownership of lands at St Vincent’s Hospital campus in Dublin.

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Minister for Health Simon Harris (Brian Lawless/PA)

Minister for Health Simon Harris (Brian Lawless/PA)

Minister for Health Simon Harris (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Religious Sisters of Charity nuns are to transfer ownership of lands at St Vincent’s Hospital campus in Dublin which will allow for a new National Maternity Hospital to be built.

It follows controversy over plans to build the new hospital on church grounds due to fears over religious interference in women’s health.

The nuns stepped down from the board of St Vincent’s Hospital Group in 2017 and agreed to hand over the lands pending the decision of the Holy See in the Vatican.

The order confirmed on Friday that it has received approval from the Holy See to transfer the ownership of the site worth 200 million euro.

In a statement, the Sisters of Charity said they hope that the transfer can now be concluded without undue delays.

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St Vincent’s University Hospital in south Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

St Vincent’s University Hospital in south Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

PA

St Vincent’s University Hospital in south Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

They said: “Today marks the final movement towards completion of all legal, financial and regulatory matters involved in the transfer of the Sisters’ 186-year involvement in the hospital.”

Health Minister Simon Harris thanked the Religious Sisters of Charity for “an extraordinary contribution” to gift the lands for the benefit of the Irish public.

He said: “Since St Vincent’s Hospital first opened on St Stephen’s Green in 1835 with 12 patients, the Sisters have overseen the care of many millions of people. St Vincent’s University Hospital on Elm Park is now an academic teaching hospital of international renown and stands testament to the Sisters.

“Today’s announcement by the Sisters will remove any remaining concerns that a religious influence might be brought to bear on the governance of the new National Maternity Hospital at Elm Park.”

In a statement, the National Maternity Hospital said the hospital that will now be built at the St Vincent’s Hospital campus at Elm Park “will be a world-class facility”.

It added: “It is the most significant infrastructural development in the area of women’s health since the foundation of the state. The enabling works for the project are close to completion and we look forward to the main build commencing without delay.

“The National Maternity Hospital is hugely appreciative of the role played by the Sisters of Charity in healthcare in Ireland over two centuries, culminating in the release of these hugely valuable healthcare assets.”

PA