Responding to this evening’s statement from the Chairperson of St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher said:

“I find it extraordinary that after many days of intense speculation and debate it now seems that the agreement reached regarding the new National Maternity Hospital does in fact allow St. Vincent’s to play a role in clinical governance at the hospital. This clearly contradicts previous statements made by Minister for Health Simon Harris on this matter.

“Minister Harris has either misunderstood the deal or deliberately misleads the public on the specific details of this deal. Both scenarios are simply unacceptable and suggest that the Minister is not on top of his brief. While I accept that the new maternity hospital is needed, it cannot be at any cost when it comes to clinical independence and governance.

“The statement issued on behalf of St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group is a direct contradiction to the earlier public statements made by Deputy Harris. Public disquiet will continue to grow in the absence of the full disclosure of the agreement reached.

“Minister Harris and the Taoiseach need to be honest with the public and explain the truth behind this deal. They cannot have it both ways. They have to explain why they said clinical governance is not a matter for St. Vincent’s when the chairman of the group states that the opposite is the case.”