Ireland’s Sisters of Mercy hospital row takes a fresh turn
Following our report last Thursday that Ireland’s National Maternity Hospital (NMH) was to be handed to the Catholic Sister’s of Mercy order, news has emerged that the former master of the NMH, Dr Peter Boylan, above, has been asked to resign from its board for speaking out against the plan.
The hospital’s deputy chairman, former High Court president Nicholas Kearns, told Boylan to go, a NMH spokesman confirmed yesterday.
Boylan last week expressed strong reservations about the agreement reached last November between St Vincent’s and the NMH under which the maternity hospital is due to move to the St Vincent’s site in the sole ownership of the Sisters of Charity.
The principal points of the agreement are that the Sisters of Charity will be sole owners of the new hospital, and of the new company that will run the hospital, and that a new nine-person board will be set up to oversee the running of the new hospital.
So let us be clear: the Sisters of Charity will be the sole owners of the new National Maternity Hospital. Many at the hospital are satisfied that adequate protection is provided. I am not.
Modern maternity and gynaecological care encompasses contraception, sterilisation, IVF, gender reassignment surgery and abortion, as well as the usual day-to-day activities of a busy maternity hospital.
Are we seriously expected to believe that if the hospital goes ahead according to the proposed arrangement it will be the only maternity hospital in the world owned by the Catholic Church, and run by a company owned by the Catholic Church, that will allow these procedures? This stretches credibility to breaking point. Indeed it would seem to be naive.
A spokesman for the NMH said in a statement to The Irish Times:
Last week, some five months after the agreement was approved, Boylan, without warning, consultation with or notification to the board, its chair or the master of the hospital, went public in attacking the agreement.
Board members have a duty of loyalty to the board on which they serve and for this reason his resignation has been sought.