Catholic bishop clarifies weekend comments on National Maternity Hospital

Dr Kevin Doran says report that Catholic hospitals must follow church’s teachings related to the disposal of existing properties

The Catholic Bishop of Elphin has clarified comments attributed to him in a weekend newspaper article about the patronage of the new National Maternity Hospital.

Last week's announcement by the Department of Health that the Catholic Sisters of Charity order would be given ownership of the €300 million facility once it is up and running caused a backlash from the public and politicians.

The hostile response has prompted the board of the hospital to review the status of the project, which is now reportedly in jeopardy due to the fallout from the controversy.

In a Sunday Times article with the headline "Bishop says new hospital must obey the church", Dr Kevin Doran was quoted as saying Catholic hospitals would have to follow the church's teachings regarding the treatment of patients.


“A healthcare organisation bearing the name Catholic, while offering care to all who need it, has a special responsibility... to Catholic teachings about the value of human life and the dignity and the ultimate destiny of the human person,” Dr Doran was quoted as saying.

‘General terms’

Such an approach may in turn jeopardise the provision of services such as sterilisation, infertility treatment, gender reassignment surgery and abortion at the new hospital according to the report, all of which are frowned upon by church hierarchy.

It goes on to quote Dr Doran as saying the comments are “in general terms” as the proposed site of the National Maternity Hospital is not in his diocese.

Speaking to local radio station Shannonside FM on Tuesday, Dr Doran said he did not specifically mention the National Maternity Hospital in his comments to the newspaper.

He said the comments attributed to him were in response to a question about canonical obligations regarding the disposal of existing church property, and were intended to be general in nature.