Sinn Féin’s health spokesperson David Cullinane has called for further negotiations between the Government and the St Vincent’s healthcare group over ownership of the site for the new National Maternity Hospital.
A complex, convoluted contractual arrangement was not the way forward, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
A commitment had been made in the past to sign over the site to the State, but the Government did not appear to have the political will to pursue that, he added.
Mr Cullinane said he did not want to wait “one more minute, one more day, one more year” for the new hospital, but it was important to get it right. If the State owned the land then all concerns would be gone “in a stroke”.
We have an obligation to protect the taxpayer.
This was a public hospital, and it should be on public land, instead there was a complex situation which was not the best outcome.
“This is all very messy. It is very convoluted. It is important to get it right when there is State investment of over €800 million, possibly a billion.
“We have an obligation to protect the taxpayer.”
Mr Cullinane said that the current national maternity hospital at Holles Street was not the only maternity hospital that was not fit for purpose, the Rotunda hospital was also the “product” of years of lack of investment.
The Government should go back to the St Vincent’s group to resolve the issue of ownership of the site, which had been promised to the State in the past.
Given that both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste had expressed concern about ownership of the site in the past, why had they not been involved in talks, he asked. If Mary Lou McDonald were Taoiseach she would have been involved in talks.
While further talks might delay the project in the short term, in the long term it would be better to get it right. Further concessions were possible, he said.