Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher says detailed information is needed regarding how the decision was reached to allow the Religious Sisters of Charity to take ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital. He added that there is currently too much confusion over the issue and clarification is needed.

Deputy Kelleher has written to the Clerk of the Oireachtas Committee on Health to ask for the Master of the National Maternity Hospital Dr Rhona Mahony to give a detailed account of the negotiations and what they will mean for the much needed new National Maternity Hospital.

He has also asked for Dr Kieran Mulvey, who facilitated the negotiations between the National Maternity Hospital and the Religious Sisters of Charity, to be requested to attend the committee.

Deputy Kelleher said, “People are confused over the decision to allow the new €300m publicly funded National Maternity Hospital to be handed over to the Religious Sisters of Charity upon completion. There is a need for transparency surrounding the circumstances of the new arrangement.

“Ideally the State needs to have independence when it comes to providing healthcare and other services but knowing the full circumstances of this deal may help to ease people’s concerns. It is crucial that full clinical independence for the maternity services is achieved.

“I have written to the clerk of the Oireachtas Committee of Health to request both Dr Rhona Mahony and Dr Kieran Mulvey to brief the committee on this issue. The public deserve answers as to how this situation arose. People also need reassurance that the best interests of the patient will at all times be the primary driver of decision making at the hospital,” concluded Deputy Kelleher.