Peter Boylan urged to resign over maternity hospital criticism

Former master objected to move of facility to Sisters of Charity-owned St Vincent’s campus


The former master of the National Maternity Hospital (NMH), Dr Peter Boylan, has been asked to resign from its board for speaking out against its planned move to the St Vincent’s University Hospital campus.

The hospital’s deputy chairman, former High Court president Nicholas Kearns, has asked Dr Boylan to resign from the board, a NMH spokesman confirmed last night.

Dr Boylan last week expressed strong reservations about the agreement reached last November between St Vincent’s and the NMH under which the maternity hospital is due to move to the St Vincent’s site in the sole ownership of the Sisters of Charity.

A spokesman for the NMH said in a statement to The Irish Times: “Last week, some five months after the agreement was approved, Boylan, without warning, consultation with or notification to the board, its chair or the master of the hospital, went public in attacking the agreement.

“Board members have a duty of loyalty to the board on which they serve and for this reason his resignation has been sought.”

Overwhelming support

It is understood the decision to seek Dr Boylan’s resignation was taken following consultation with board members, who were said to be overwhelmingly supportive. The decision was supported by the current master, Dr Rhona Mahony, who is Dr Boylan’s sister-in-law.

The hospital said Dr Boylan was a member of the NMH board at all times during the six-month period of mediation which resulted in the agreement to co-locate the NMH with St Vincent’s Hospital. The board was kept fully briefed on all developments by the negotiating team during that period, the statement said.

“The decisive final meeting of the board overwhelmingly supported the agreement with 25 in favour, two abstentions (including Dr Boylan) and one vote against. Thereafter the agreement was approved by Government and planning permission was lodged.”

Dr Boylan is expected to resist any attempt to oust him from the board, known as the executive committee, when it holds a scheduled meeting tomorrow.

The board does not have the power to force him to resign, according to sources. Such a decision would have to be taken at a meeting of the 85-member governing board.

Dr Boylan has been critical of the planned move, arguing the Catholic ethos of St Vincent’s would interfere with the independent operation of a maternity hospital.

Dr Mahony, however, has maintained the agreement provides for the operational, financial and clinical independence of the maternity hospital.