Leading priest supports Dr Peter Boylan on new maternity hospital

Association of Catholic Priests also says facility should be State-owned

Prominent Catholic theologian Fr Gabriel Daly opposes ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital by the Sisters of Charity.

Prominent Catholic theologian Fr Gabriel Daly opposes ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital by the Sisters of Charity.

 

Prominent Catholic theologian Fr Gabriel Daly has supported Dr Peter Boylan in opposing ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) by the Sisters of Charity at Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

Dr Boylan resigned last month from the board of the NMH over the Government’s decision to give the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group sole ownership of the hospital when it moves from Holles Street to the Elm Park campus next to St Vincent’s University Hospital.

Fr Daly has also sharply criticised an intervention in the controversy by Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran.

An Augustinian priest, Fr Daly said, “Those with more considered reasons feared that there might be interference with medical decisions on religious grounds.

“This was a fair point, usually made by professionals like Dr Peter Boylan, who had the grace to argue temperately and convincingly. I find myself convinced by his wise and persuasive arguments.”

Bishop Doran’s intervention was “just the sort of remark to confirm the worst fears of those warning about the dangers of religious – especially Roman Catholic – ownership of hospitals,” Fr Daly said.

Bishop Doran insisted that a Catholic ethos must prevail at the new NMH.

Hostility

Fr Daly also took exception to the way the Sisters of Charity were “being execrated in such hostile and sometimes vitriolic terms”, despite centuries of service.

“Irish ex-Catholic atheists sometimes seem to be as uncritical in their religious unbelief as their forebears were in their religious beliefs,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) has said the new NMH should be in State ownership.

It said it “fully accepts the principle” that “where public money is being used to build and fund the hospital, it is important that it be in the ownership of the State ”.

It was announced on Friday that High Court action has been taken against the plans.

Campaigner Dick Spicer, of the Humanist Association of Ireland, and his son, Norman, are seeking an injunction to prevent the divesting of State property, assets or funding to the control of the Sisters of Charity, any religious congregation, or any management at the new NMH which “allows a religious order to exercise a controlling influence”.