Thursday, 12 May 2022
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Ivana Bacik (Dublin Bay South, Labour)
We are convinced of the clinical need for the new maternity hospital; I think all of us are. All of us want the same outcome, which is a state-of-the-art, fit-for-purpose new national maternity hospital for women's healthcare in Ireland. We have heard why that should be at the St. Vincent's site. However, it is time to call the bluff of the owners of that site. It is time to call them out. While a 299-year lease is certainly better than the previous alternative that was offered of a 99-year lease, it still remains different from freehold. It still remains conditional ownership and not outright ownership in perpetuity. That is the difficulty we have. We believe it is time to call the bluff of the owners of the site and to say that we, as a State, wish to take ownership in perpetuity of the land on which the new national maternity hospital is to be built, to put beyond doubt the future ownership and future availability right into the next century of all necessary maternity and reproductive healthcare services for women. For too long women in this country have been failed by the State and by the church authorities, often working in tandem. We need to call them out on it now.