Vatican approves transfer of lands at St Vincent’s hospital site

Formal approval removes one of remaining barriers to building new maternity hospital

The Sisters of Charity have today confirmed they have received Vatican approval for the transfer ownership of the St Vincent's Healthcare Group to a new independent charitable body to be called St Vincent's Holdings CLG. It removes one of the final and more controversial hurdles in building a new National Maternity hospital at Elm Park in Dublin.

The sisters said they intended to gift lands at the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group, sites worth some €200 million, and hoped the transfer can be concluded without undue delay.

In line with the Catholic Church’s Canon Law provisions formal approval for the decision to complete the transfer of ownership of such extensive property owned by a religious congregation had to be requested from Rome and has now been approved.

The new St Vincent's Holdings CLG will continue to be a "not for profit" organisation. In the event of the St Vincent's Holdings CLG going into liquidation, its surplus assets will be vested with the Charity Regulator and used for future healthcare purposes with similar values, to benefit the people of Ireland, the Sisters said in a statement.


In July 2017 the Religious Sisters of Charity stepped down from the board of St Vincent’s Hospital Group. Friday marks the final movement towards completion of all legal, financial and regulatory matters involved in the transfer of the Sisters’ 186-year involvement with the hospital.

In 1834 Mary Aikenhead, who founded the Religious Sisters of Charity, established the first hospital in Ireland that freely admitted the sick and the poor, irrespective of their race, creed or ability to pay.

In their statement on Friday the Sisters thanked everyone who had supported them over recent years “as we formalise the final steps towards our departure from St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and hope that the transfer can now swiftly move to completion.”

Superior general Sr Patricia Lenihan said: "We are confident that the St Vincent's Healthcare Group Board, management and staff will continue to provide acute healthcare services that foster Mary Aikenhead's mission and core values of dignity, compassion, justice, equality and advocacy for all into the future."

While they would not be involved in St Vincent’s Healthcare Group, she said “our Sisters continue to preserve Mary Aikenhead’s legacy and mission both in Ireland and abroad, working with local communities; healing and caring for people who are sick or poor and those nearing the end of life through our hospices. We will also continue our work with people who are homeless, are refugees and those who are victims of human trafficking as well continuing our education programmes.”

She said the Sisters of Charity were “very proud of our long heritage and work to establish and provide healthcare services for the sick and poor in Ireland. It has been both a privilege and an honour to serve and support patients and their families over the last 186 years.”

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times