Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin’s call last week for the secularisation of Irish Hospitals from religious orders has drawn a curt “no comment” from St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group. Mr. Martin claimed that property interests retained by the Catholic Church in hospitals, such as the Mater and St Vincent’s in Dublin, ought now be handed over to the State. He said that these hospitals were basically being run by the State already, as they have placed a large amount of investment into them. In St Vincent’s Hospital, two nuns currently sit on the board of directors and doctors are obliged to sign contracts promising their adherence to its ethos; their mission is: “To bring the healing love of Christ to all we serve.”
In April of 2016, the Institute of Obstetricians expressed their concerns over St Vincent’s hospital, which is owned by the Sisters of Charity, governing the National Maternity Hospital. Chairman, Dr. Peter Boylan, outlined their concern as Catholic-controlled hospitals are internationally known to forbid modern contraceptive services, sterilisation operations, IVF, and gender reassignment surgery. He admitted that he would also have reservations about the implementation of the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act.
In 2001 the Sisters of Mercy sold the Mater hospital to the State with the stipulation that its Catholic ethos would be retained. Mr. Martin told the Today with Sean O’Rourke show on RTE that he felt areas such as education and health, in which the State had been making a sizeable investment for over 30 or 40 years, should ultimately revert to the State. He also believed that the Commission of Investigation into mother and baby homes would have to be widened, adding that a forum must be set up for the families and victims of mother-and-baby homes.