Dáil debates

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Maternity Services Provision

4:40 pm

Photo of Catherine ByrneCatherine Byrne (Dublin South Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I refer back to Deputy Burton's charge that the Minister and the Government do not care about women and children. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is why we are building a state-of-the-art national children's hospital for the first time. Children from the Coombe, the Rotunda and the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street who are very vulnerable and sick are brought to Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin. We all know that we need a new national children's hospital.

Regarding the relocation of the Rotunda, I wish to make one thing very clear to the Deputy. She was in government with us back then and she knows what we were left to pick up when there was no money to put anywhere, never mind into a capital plan. For the first time with the development of Project Ireland 2040, we have an opportunity to plan, reach out and have a vision of what we want for maternity services in this country. Nobody in this House can tell me that this Government does not care about women and children, because we do. We have had a problem with funding but we are back on track in many ways.

I will convey to the Minister Deputy Burton's disappointment that he could not be here and her contention that there has been no plan, design and tender. I will relay her concerns to him, but I will not stand here and be told that this Government does not care about women and children. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a representative of the Government, I will stand here and defend our record at all times.

I apologise for being over the top about it but I believe we have excellent maternity hospitals, including the Rotunda, the Coombe and Holles Street. All of their buildings have gone past their sell-by date, however. I know in my heart and soul that the Rotunda, Holles Street and the Coombe need to be relocated. It is not down to the staff or the masters. It is down to the fact that in the past these hospitals were not kept up to a certain standard to keep them running. We are now faced with the dilemma that all maternity hospitals need to be relocated and redesigned.

I will bring Deputy Burton's views back to the Minister about how she believes nothing is being done to forward this plan. It is in Project Ireland 2040.


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