Workers’ Party Councillor Éilis Ryan has issued a statement calling for the full divestment and state acquisition of St Vincent’s Hospital, in a manner similar to the divestment of national schools.

The councillor, who led last Thursday’s demonstration at Minister Harris’s Department, said:

Clearly, the National Maternity Hospital must be co-located with a full hospital. And clearly, the process of developing the current plan is at too late a stage to abandon.

Therefore, it is entirely appropriate that, if the Sisters of Charity are not willing to donate land for use for a secular, independent maternity hospital, the Minister should use powers of compulsory acquisition to acquire St. Vincent’s Hospital, and the required development land.

Cllr. Ryan said that such an acquisition is fully provided for under the constitution, saying:

Our constitution makes explicit that, where private property intrudes on the social good, the social good should be given precedence. Is the government really arguing that there is greater “social justice” in the building of a motorway than the building of a maternity hospital?

St. Vincent’s University Hospital receives almost a quarter of a billion euro in state grants each year. It is, in all but name and ethos, a publicly-funded and publicly-managed hospital. As such, compensation if it occurs would be minimal. There is no question but that it should immediately be taken into public ownership, and a statewide healthcare divestment process begun immediately.

HSE expenditure in voluntary hospitals is detailed here