Irish government faces protests over maternity hospital role for Catholic Church

Vastavam web: Public pressure mounted today on the Irish government over plans to give ownership of a new 300- million-euro maternity hospital to a Catholic religious order mired in historical abuse of women.More than 60,000 people have signed a petition and a number of demonstrations have been organised against the decision, which involves the controversial Sisters of Charity.There are also more general concerns about handing control of a maternity hospital to a religion that opposes practices such as abortion, sterilisation and gender change operations.
“The Irish state should be taking properties from the Catholic Church, not handing them over to the care of those who have previously shown their ineptitude and have abused their position of power,” wrote one signatory to the petition.There is universal agreement about the need for a new hospital but debate has raged for years over its location.Once it is built, the hospital will be transferred to a trust controlled by the order, which also runs St Vincent’s.
The head of management of the current maternity hospital, Rhona Mahony, said Thursday that the new facility would be “completely independent”.”The nuns will not be running this hospital, it will not be under Catholic ethos. The ethos will be excellence in clinical care,” she said.”It would be the only hospital in the world owned by the Catholic Church and effectively run by a company that is owned by the Catholic Church to allow things like IVF, sterilisation, abortion, gender reassignment surgery,” he said on national radio.