Planning permission granted for new National Maternity Hospital

Planning permission has been granted to build the new National Maternity Hospital on the campus of St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin.

The decision means work on the €300m facility can now go ahead.

The 244-bed hospital will replace the existing maternity hospital at Holles St in Dublin city centre.

In a decision published today the board said the proposed location and design was the most appropriate solution for maternity care and that it did not believe the development would have any significant impact on residents or traffic.

The new hospital will be five-six storeys high, and includes an extension to the existing multi-storey car park on the campus.

Earlier controversy over the ownership of the facility resulted in the Sisters of Charity ending involvement with the St Vincent's Healthcare Group.

The Sisters of Charity said they would instead sell its land at Elm Park in Dublin to a newly-formed organisation called St Vincent's for the new facility.

At the time, Health Minister Simon Harris called the move "a very significant development for the healthcare sector".

The potential involvement of nuns in the running and governance of a maternity hospital had caused deep unease in some medical circles and among the public. The controversy arose after details of a confidential deal emerged between the Sisters of Charity, the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group, medics and management at the National Maternity Hospital and the Department of Health to build the new maternity hospital at St Vincent’s.

It would have seen the nuns give land at Elm Park for the new hospital but retain ultimate ownership under a complex corporate structure.

It prompted leading obstetrician Dr Peter Boylan, a former Master of Holles Street, to resign from the board of the current National Maternity Hospital.

The Chairman and Master of the existing maternity hospital at Holles St in Dublin, Mr Nicholas Kearns and Dr Rhona Mahony, were delighted at the announcement.

They released a statement which said: "This news comes after a huge amount of hard work by very many people to bring the project this far.

"It is a very important milestone and we look forward to ongoing cooperation with St Vincents Hospital Group to ensure this vital project proceeds to completion as soon as possible."

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