Government criticised as no women TDs attend NMH hearing Otesanya David April 2, 2022

Government criticised as no women TDs attend NMH hearing

Government criticised as no women TDs attend NMH hearing


No women from government were present as Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly faced questions from opposition TDs regarding the controversial National Maternity Hospital

Opposition TDs have criticised the government for its attitude towards the National Maternity Hospital, during a debate about the issue.

During Dáil proceedings yesterday evening, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly faced questions regarding the ownership, governance, and the provision of services within the NMH.

Donnelly maintains that the Sisters of Charity, a Catholic organisation, will have ‘no role’ in running the hospital. “No services will be denied based on religion or ethical code,” he said, adding that ‘false allegations’ had been made about issues associated with ownership of the hospital.

Afterwards, Minister Donnelly claimed that medical staff had written to him warning of a ‘campaign of disinformation’ aimed at preventing the hospital being constructed.

In response, Social Democrats TD Róisin Shortall highlighted issues associated with the Order being associated with the hospital.

“Under the present proposals the hospital will not be publicly owned, and it will not be secular. That is simply not acceptable to the public,” she said.

“…the proposed corporate governance structure is one where the Maternity hospital in Holles Street will cease to exist in its present identity. It will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of St Vincent’s holdings.”

Several TDs pointed out that no women from the government were present to discuss the NHM, or to discuss criticisms from opposition.

People Before Profit’s Bríd Smith said she was ‘intrigued’ that no female members of government had attended.

“This is not to insult anyone, but I am intrigued that there’s not a single female member of three government parties here to talk about this issue…I think it would have been appropriate for at least one of two of them to attend and defend this issue.”

Afterwards Catherine Connolly expressed disappointment that when a debate about the issue was taking place, no women from government had shown up.

The hospital has been controversial since it was announced. The Sisters of Charity owns the land that the hospital is built on, prompting abortion rights groups (and other groups) to express concern about what services will be provided.


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