ress release Cllr Lourda Scott, issued on Wednesday, July 28th 2021…
A motion calling for the public ownership and secular governance of the proposed New National Maternity Hospital was passed by a sizable majority by Wicklow County Council at their meeting on Jul 27th.
The motion was tabled by a cross party group of councillors in response to concerns expressed by community groups Bray and District Council of Trade Unions and North Wicklow for Choice and Equality.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Lourda Scott who led the debate in favour of the motion, expressed her delight of the support achieved. “This motion was brought to us from women in our community that are very worried about the proposed new National Maternity Hospital and the lack of clarity over the ownership of the land where it will be built and who will run it. It is crucial that we get this right as it is going to cost the State about €800 million to build and outfit the new Hospital.
“As it stands it is planned to ‘gift’ the Hospital to a private entity St Vincents Holdings who will then also run it. So despite the massive financial investment, the State will have no involvement in this private company and the land on which the hospital will be built will remain in church ownership. This leads to very real concerns that with the landlord and governing body being Catholic bodies, Catholic Ethos will inform medical decisions. This is simply unacceptable. After years of scandal after scandal regarding women’s healthcare, the least we can do is to ensure our National Maternity Hospital remains in public ownership and has a secular ethos. This is critical to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of current and future generations of Wicklow women.”
Sarah Murphy (North Wicklow Together for Yes and Equality) said, “It means so much that an overwhelming majority of Councillors of every party and none, stood alongside the women of Wicklow this week to demand a hospital that is fit for purpose and that will provide the full range of available legal services. The women of Wicklow deserve nothing less.
“We hope that Minister for Health, recognises that in his own constituency, we have a chorus of voices demanding nothing less than state ownership to guarantee reproductive healthcare for generations to come. We will not accept ambiguous and opaque agreements where Canon Law can intercede in the medical decisions of women accessing services. At its simplest, if we pay for it, we should own it.”
Cllr Scott concluded: “This discussion has being going on for years and it’s time to sort out this mess once and for all.
“We look forward to hearing a response from Minister Donnelly outlining a clear path forward that is underpinned by legal certainty and not by vague reassurances.”
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