Poll shows overwhelming opposition to Catholic Church involvement in new maternity hospital

Dr Boylan, the former Master of the hospital in its current location on Holles Street, is refusing to step down from its board - despite calls to do so from his colleagues.

St. Vincent's Healthcare Group said that it will review the status of the new hospital because of the controversy surrounding its ownership.

Dr Boylan last week questioned whether clinical care, including abortions or IVF treatment, would be influenced by the nuns' religious beliefs and said it is inappropriate for a hospital to have a strong religious influence, particularly from the Catholic Church.

It follows remarks by Kevin Doran, the bishop of Elphin, who told The Sunday Times that the hospital would have to obey the rules the Catholic church when the religious order becomes owners of the facility in south Dublin.

"I don't feel I should resign", the consultant said. "Last week, some five months after the agreement was approved, Dr Boylan, without warning, consultation with or notification to the board, its chair or the Master of the hospital, went public in attacking the agreement".

The Sisters of Charity own the site and are providing it without charge but the order's ownership of the future hospital has led to concerns that Catholic doctrine will influence medical practices.

The hospital's deputy chairman, former High Court president Nicholas Kearns, asked Dr Boylan to resign from the board, a NMH spokesman confirmed last night.

"The decisive final meeting of the board overwhelmingly supported the agreement with 25 in favour, two abstentions (including Dr Boylan) and one vote against".

We need clarity on what is actually contained in the deal reached to provide a new National Maternity Hospital.

Earlier this week, it emerged that the Religious Sisters of Charity was to be given ownership of the €300m taxpayer-funded hospital because it owns the land on which it is to be built.

A petition against the Sisters of Charity ownership over the new National Maternity Hospital has gathered over 91,000 signatures, and now a new poll has shown that the majority of Irish people are against the move.

  • Leroy Wright