The National Maternity Hospital

A chara, – There has been much talk in political circles and the media about who should own the land that the NMH will be built on. Much less about who will be able to avail of the “clinically appropriate” services it will provide.

What exactly does “clinically appropriate” mean?

In the 1970s, it was deemed clinically appropriate to break a woman’s pelvis during birth. From personal experience I can vouch for the fact that in the 1980s it was deemed clinically clinically appropriate to refuse a woman birth control. In the 1990s, it was deemed clinically appropriate to offer a woman in her early twenties irreversible sterilisation rather than preferred birth control. In more recent times, it was deemed appropriate to lie to women about results of their smear tests, and women today are still forced to go abroad for terminations.

Who decides what is “clinically appropriate”? – Yours, etc,

KATHLEEN WOUMANS,

Leap,

Co Cork.

Sir, – Now that the easier question has been dealt with, I hope we can get onto the tricky matter of where to do the “clinically inappropriate” cases. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN O’BRIEN,

Kinsale,

Co Cork.

Sir, – We’re going to get a maternity hospital, built on land owned by the Catholic Church, carrying out abortions. Something doesn’t sound right, and in all the contributions I’ve heard to date, I haven’t heard anything from the Catholic hierarchy.

Perhaps our esteemed media could ask a representative of the hierarchy why they appear to be happy with this situation and why they did not simply sell the land to the State, and in so doing, distance themselves from abortion and other such medical practices incompatible with Catholic doctrine. – Yours, etc,

GARY DOYLE,

Straffan,

Co Kildare.

Sir, – There were important lessons from this week’s Oireachtas session with SVHG.

SVHG chairman James Menton stated that there is no impediment to SVHG selling the site. If there is no block, then why is a CPO not being pursued?

There is already a CPO on Elm Park land by the NTA for BusConnects. So it can be done. We are told co-location is the issue, yet co-location happens in Ireland and worldwide without ownership. It is not an issue for the State. It is only an issue for SVHG.

There is no clarity as to who requested to buy the site at Elm Park and when. Was there ever any intention to do so?

Time has not been given by the Government for the information and memos that were requested at the Oireachtas to be presented and reviewed. In particular, the ethical and philosophical code that was referenced by one of the SVHG speakers.

In the interest of full Government transparency, time must be given to produce all documentation.

There are serious concerns and fundamental problems with this transfer that cannot be glossed over by this Government. Endless pulling on the heart-string statements about how wonderful the new hospital will be are entirely irrelevant to these core problems. We can have all of those wonderful and necessary facilities with a public and secular hospital too.

Questions need to be answered about why a CPO has not been pursued. CPO is of course not the only solution. There are other options and it is unconscionable to be holding onto this “precious” agreement when it is so clearly deeply flawed.

This entire fiasco has only gone on for years and in such a divisive way because Government has created this problem.

A public and secular national maternity hospital should not be up for debate when there are other options. – Yours, etc,

DEIRDRE FITZGERALD,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Now that the Cabinet has approved building the new National Maternity Hospital on the leased site adjacent to St Vincent’s Hospital, perhaps it is a good time to start the process of agreeing the location of its replacement in 299 years? – Yours, etc,

JACINTA McLOUGHLIN,

Ashbourne,

Co Meath.