Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin is chaired by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, but ownership rests with the board of directors. Dr Martin is also the chairman of the National Maternity Hospital, which is governed under legislation passed in the 1930s, but he does not attend board meetings.
A major uncertainty has emerged over whether the State – which is planning to spend in the region of €1.3 bn on building a new maternity and a new children’s hospitals – will receive any funding from the multi-million sale of the existing hospital sites at Crumlin, Temple Street and Holles Street.
It would have been expected that the money from the sale of the Holles Street site would go towards funding the new National Maternity Hospital on the St. Vincent’s campus and that the money from the sale of the Crumlin and Temple Street sites would go towards the new children’s hospital on the St. James’s campus.
The site of the children’s hospital in Tallaght is already vested in the Minister for Health.
Health Minister, Simon Harris has said that the new maternity hospital due to be sited on the St. Vincent’s Elm Park campus will cost €300 million to build. Under the current agreement, the new hospital will be owned by the Sisters of Charity, the ultimate owners of the St. Vincent’s Group. The Congregation has provided the extremely valuable site for the hospital on the St. Vincent’s campus free of charge. However, it could be expected that money from the sale of Holles Street would be given to defray the cost of the new hospital.
Indeed, in 2013 it was reported that when the new hospital was built the authorities at Holles Street would cede ownership of its current building to the state. However, when asked if the proceeds of the sale of Holles Street would go towards funding the new hospital, a spokesperson for the Department of Health was unable to clarify this, saying it was a matter for Holles Street.
When asked if the Minister was not aware of what would happen to money from the sale of the site, as part of the transfer agreement which he approved, the spokesperson said the agreement was made between the two voluntary bodies. A spokesperson for Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin said that no decision had been taken regarding the future of the hospital. It is understood that the ownership of both Holles Street and Crumlin are vested in a Board of Directors, chaired by the Archbishop of Dublin. The ownership of the Children’s University Hospital in Temple Street is understood to be ultimately vested in the Sisters of Mercy.