hawkins house ‘simon harris health charity national maternity hospital
Stream Keywords: hospital national,hawkins house,health of,harris simon,department of,hospital maternity,department health,maternity national,harris ‘simon,charity health
Some 200 people gathered outside the Department of Health on Thursday afternoon in protest at the Government’s plans to give ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital to the Sisters of Charity.
Chants of ‘Simon Harris, we won’t wait: separate church and state’ were bellowed outside the offices at Hawkins House, Poolbeg Street in Dublin with representatives from Parents for Choice, Midwives for Choice and Atheist Ireland present.
It was organised following the Department of Health’s decision to give the Sisters of Charity sole ownership of the new €300 million hospital when it is relocated from Holles Street to the Elm Park campus adjacent to St Vincent’s Hospital has provoked controversy.
Councillor Eilis Ryan from the Worker’s Party, who organised the demonstration, criticised the Minister for Health Simon Harris for only addressing the new National Maternity Hospital on Twitter earlier this week.
“It’s grand to be telling us we’ve nothing to worry about on Twitter but we would prefer if you actually got involved in the negotiations and didn’t leave up to the doctors to have to come out and make public statements about what kind of healthcare we should be having in this country,” she said.
Louise O’Reilly, Sinn Fein’s spokesperson for health described Mr Harris’s comments about the Minister for Health having a golden share in the hospital as “nonsense”.
“I don’t think that’s good enough. I think the Minister needs to be very clear on this,” Ms O’Reilly said.
“He’s doing a lot of tweeting about it, he’s not doing a lot of talking about it. I think he needs to come out and say exactly where the state stands on how much influence these people are going to have over the ethos and the way that the hospital is run.”
Robyn Myna (28) from Athlone, described the Government’s decision to grant ownership to the Sisters of Charity as “an absolute disgrace”.
“I’m here today because the Sisters of Charity have acquired the new €3m maternity hospital and they are same people that organised the Magdalene Laundries in this country. I think it’s an absolute disgrace that we’re just handing something as precious as this to the people that did that to the women of Ireland,” she said.
An online petition set up by a UCD student Denise Kiernan, against the move, has been signed by over 60,000 people.
Further protests have been organised by Parents for Choice this Saturday at 3pm at St Vincent’s Hospital, the National Maternity Hospitals on Holles Street, Limerick, Cork and Galway as well as Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.