On April 22nd, Parents for Choice in Pregnancy and Childbirth organised nationwide protests in reaction to the announcement four days previously that the religious order the Sisters of Charity was to be given sole ownership of the new maternity hospital being built as part of the co-location policy of the HSE. We rallied outside the maternity hospitals in Dublin (Holles Street), Cork, Limerick, and Galway, as well as the proposed site for the new maternity hospital, at St Vincent’s campus in Dublin. The protests were well attended, featuring speakers from TFMR and ARC among many others, and were covered extensively in national media.

Despite a clear voicing of public disagreement with the deal reached by the board of the NMH with the board of St Vincent’s and the Sisters of Charity, it was reaffirmed in the following days that it would go ahead. Minister Simon Harris and Dr Rhona Mahony seem determined to push through this co-location at any cost.

Aside from the fact that no private company should own a hospital built with €300 million worth of tax payers’ money, the Sisters of Charity in particular have a horrific record in this area, still owing millions of Euro to the redress scheme for institutional abuse victims.

Considering the stories that have emerged from the mother and baby homes in Tuam and elsewhere, it is shocking that the government would choose to hand over the ownership and management of a public hospital to the order of nuns. It shows a complete disregard for the opinions of the majority of the population, who remain hurt and outraged by the Irish religious organisations that perpetrated these crimes against women and children.

Parents for Choice in Pregnancy and Childbirth see no other option but to keep marching. We won’t stay silent while our maternity hospital is put into the hands of a religious order with such a despicable track record. Therefore, we call on all those who believe in the separation of church and state, all those whose hearts broke for the mothers, children and babies in Tuam, all those who believe that public hospitals should be run by medical professionals and owned by the people of Ireland, not religious orders, to come and March with us on May 7th.

Read the press release here.