Defend Peter Boylan – no role for “Canon Law” in any maternity hospital


Former master of the National Maternity Hospital (NMH), Dr Peter Boylan, has been asked to resign from the board of NMH.

His supposed crime? Publicly exposing the truth about the deal for the new maternity hospital to be based on the St Vincent’s site.

Under the terms of that deal the Catholic religious order, Sisters of Charity, will be given sole ownership of the new hospital valued at around 300 Million euros.

When this arrangement was made public last week the spokespeople for the NMH board, HSE and the Minister of Health went to great lengths to say that ownership by the Sisters of Charity would have no impact at all in the running of the hospital and all decisions would be made on purely medical grounds.

The following is from an RTE interview on Thursday 20 April where NMH Board Chairman Nicholas Kearns referred to the “reserved powers” which would supposedly prevent any religious interference:

“In effect, the Minister has disclosed the key elements in these reserved powers and I was frankly surprised that people are not reassured by the binding nature of these reserved powers, can I just run through them quickly? Firstly, as one of the main objectives for the agreement it provides that under this arrangement the new company, the hospital in Elm Park, will provide a range of health services in the community as heretofore, such operation and provision to be conducted in accordance with the newly agreed clinical governance arrangements for the National Maternity Hospital at Elm Park by providing as far as possible by whatever manner and means from time to time available for the health happiness and welfare of those accepted as patients without religious or ethnic or other distinction and by supporting the work of all involved in the delivery of care to such patients and their families or guardians including research or investigation which may further such work. Now just very quickly the reserved powers and then I’ll stop.

“The Reserved powers guarantee 1. the clinical and operational independence in the provision of maternity gynecology obstetrics and neonatal services without religious ethnic or other distinction in the hospital at Elm Park and the provision of medical, surgical, nursing and midwifery and other health services at Elm Park in accordance with strategic planning in relation to the development of other health services in the future, in accordance with developing best practices and all financial and budgetary matters as they relate to the National Maternity Hospital will remain under their control.”


This has now been exposed as untrue.

The Religious Sisters of Charity will have to obey the rules of the Roman Catholic church if they become owners of the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) in south Dublin, according to the bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran.

“A healthcare organisation bearing the name Catholic, while offering care to all who need it, has a special responsibility . . . to Catholic teachings about the value of human life and the dignity and the ultimate destiny of the human person,” said Doran, who chairs the hierarchy’s committee on bio-ethics.

“Public funding, while it brings with it other legal and moral obligations, does not change that responsibility.”

His statement to The Sunday Times appears to confirm warnings by Peter Boylan, the chairman of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, that the €300m maternity hospital may not provide services such as sterilisation, infertility treatment, gender reassignment surgery and abortion.

Doran’s statement also echoes a warning by Tom Lynch, chairman of the Ireland East Hospital Group, which includes St Vincent’s, that locating the maternity hospital on its campus would raise issues of medical ethics. Lynch told Jim Breslin, secretary-general of the Department of Health, that canon law obliged a hospital on Catholic land to operate by Catholic rules.


The Catholic Church is guilty of crimes against women in Ireland and should have no role at all in the provision of health services.

It is clear that Peter Boylan has committed no crime for his role in helping publicly expose the truth about the motivations of the Catholic Church in seeking sole ownership of the new maternity hospital. Rather than being removed from the board of the NMH he should be commended for having the guts to tell the truth.

Peter Boylan and others are calling for a Compulsory Purchase Order to be applied to the site for the new maternity hospital. I would support that but do not believe it goes far enough.

ALL the property and wealth of the religious orders involved in crimes against the Irish people should be confiscated and used to compensate those directly affected by those crimes with any excess to be used to provide public services – particularly in health care.

This should be part of a long overdue root and branch separation of church and state in Ireland. Remove the Catholic Church from any provision of public services such as health and education. Religion is a private matter and should have no role to play in the provision of public services.



0 Responses to “Defend Peter Boylan – no role for “Canon Law” in any maternity hospital”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: