THE Sisters of Charity have announced they will have no involvement in the ownership and management of the new National Maternity Hospital in Ireland.
The announcement comes after the Order faced criticism over their shareholding in St Vincent's Healthcare Group, which was due to run the new €300million maternity hospital on their campus.
St Vincent's Healthcare Group – of which the Sisters of Charity are majority stakeholders – currently runs three hospitals; the University Hospital, St Vincent's Private Hospital, and St Michael's Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.
In a statement, the Religious Order said: “The Religious Sisters of Charity will end our involvement in St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and will not be involved in the ownership or management of the new National Maternity Hospital.
“For the last two years we have been actively working to find the best way to relinquish our shareholding of the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group (SVHG).
"We believe that the future continued success of SVHG can best be ensured by our transferring ownership of the group to a newly-formed company with charitable status to be called 'St. Vincent’s'.
"The Religious Sisters of Charity will have no involvement in this new company."
Once the transaction of ownership is completed for a "nominal consideration", the requirement set out in the SVHG Constitution – to conduct and maintain the SVHG facilities in accordance with The Religious Sisters of Charity Health Service Philosophy and Ethical Code – will be amended and replaced to reflect compliance with national and international best practice guidelines on medical ethics and the laws of the Republic of Ireland.
Consistent with the transfer of ownership, the nuns will no longer have a right to appoint Directors to the Board of SVHG, and the present two Sister Directors will resign from the Board with immediate effect, the Order said.
Over 100,000 people signed a petition to halt the Sisters of Charity, who once ran one of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries, from running an Irish maternity hospital last month.
The Sisters of Charity is one of 18 religious congregations who managed residential institutions for children investigated by the Ryan Commission and was party to the 2002, €128million indemnity agreement with the State.
After the Ryan Report in 2009, the Sisters of Charity offered to contribute a further €5million towards the €1.5billion redress costs incurred by the State involving former residents of the institutions.
But according to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report last month the Order have contributed just €2million of their 2009 offer.