National Maternity Hospital, Dublin
The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin, popularly known as Holles Street Hospital, is the largest maternity hospital in Ireland. Established in through charitable donations 1894, the hospital delivers over 10,000 babies per year. It is the national referral centre for complicated pregnancies, premature and sick infants. The main hospital building at Holles Street dates to the 1930s, but the complex has seen little substantial expansion in the last half-century, while the number of births it handles has increased by 50 per cent in the last two decades.
The hospital is located at the eastern corner of Merrion Square, at its junction with Holles Street and Lower Mount Street.
In 1903 the Hospital received a Royal Charter, as had the other Maternity Hospitals in Dublin. Holles Street was the first hospital to benefit from the Irish Hospitals' Sweepstake which funded extensive redevelopment in the 1930's, In 1936 Antrim House on Merrion Square, was demolished to enable the development of the Hospital. Also in the 1930's the governance was altered specifying the Archbishop of Dublin (or a representative) as Chair of the board; the Lord Mayor of Dublin; and two City Councillors. The Minister of Health nominates two other members of the board.
In 1998 Holles Street set up the Domino (Domiciliary Care In and Out of Hospital) and Home birth scheme through its team of community midwives.
The National Maternity Hospital Foundation is a charity which raises funds for a number of projects in the Holles St. Hospital, with special emphasis on the neo-natal intensive care unit. Fun runs, Golf Classics and Fashion Shows are examples of some of the events used fund raising.
The Linen Guild was established in 1912. It is a charity to help mothers and babies in extreme poverty in Dublin. Its aim in the early years was to ensure no baby left hospital without night clothes, woollen jacket, nappies and a Foxford woollen blanket. Today its aim is to raise funds, for those mothers in need of financial assistance.
People associated with Holles Street
Elizabeth O'Farrell a member of Cumann na mBan, carried the white flag delivering the surrender in the Easter Rising of 1916. She became a midwife, training and working in Holles Street. The annual award for academic excellence in midwifery is named in her honour.
In May 2013 it was announced that the hospital would relocate to the site of St. Vincent's University Hospital, Elm Park, a hospital founded in 1834 on by Mother Mary Aikenhead, foundress of the order Religious Sisters of Charity.
The new hospital is projected to cost €300 million, and be paid for by the Irish state. The decision to give the ownership of the hospital to its founders, the Sisters of Charity (an order of Roman Catholic nuns) caused controversy. The Sisters of Charity were involved in scandals about abuse related to the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland. The Citizens' Assembly delivered a report about the Eighth Amendment and Irish abortion law, and the controversy about the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway. This hospital transfer is being used to talk about the role of the Catholic Church in Ireland today.
In April Dr Peter Boylan, one of Ireland's most respected obstetricians, resigned from the board over influence of the Sisters on the new hospital. As of 3 May 2017[update] a petition to oppose their becoming the sole owners had been signed by more than 100,000 people. A protest of 200 people took place outside the Department of Health on 20 April 2017, and a protest in Limerick.
The master of the National Maternity Hospital, Rhona Mahony stated that the hospital would be independent and "the nuns will not be running this hospital, it will not be under Catholic ethos. It will be completely independent", and has privately complained that "the feminists are going to unravel this fantastic hospital for women".
The Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran said that the Religious Sisters of Charity would have to obey the rules of the Roman Catholic church if they become owners of the National Maternity Hospital, and to follow teachings on "the value of human life and the dignity and the ultimate destiny of the human person".
On 29 May 2017, in response to weeks of pressure and public outrage, the Sisters of Charity announced that they were ending their role in St Vincent's Healthcare Group and would not be involved in the ownership or management of the new hospital; the two sisters on the board resigned.
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- Quinn, Jack (19 April 2017). "Petition to block religious ownership of National Maternity Hospital exceeds target". Newstalk.
- Burns, Sarah (20 April 2017). "Hundreds protest over National Maternity Hospital ownership". The Irish Times.
- Molloy, Amy (20 April 2017). "'This is an insult to abuse survivors' - Protesters on the ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital". Irish Independent.
- @LmkFeminist (23 April 2017). "Photos from we own #ourhospital protest in Limerick with speakers from @parents_4choice @ClareARC1 & @LmkFeminist Thanks to all who attended" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Clarke, Vivienne (20 April 2017). "National Maternity Hospital ‘will be completely independent’ - Mahony". The Irish Times.
- Clarke, Vivienne; Cullen, Paul; Minihan, Mary (26 April 2017). "Rhona Mahony: New hospital will revolutionise healthcare for women and children". The Irish Times.
- McCarthy, Justine (23 April 2017). "Bishop says new hospital must obey the church". The Sunday Times. p. 1.