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Nuns should sell NMH  site ‘at market value’, says Bishop Doran 

The Bishop of Elphin has spoken out on the ongoing debate regarding the proposed move for the new National Maternity Hospital to a site at St Vincents.  The Sisters of Charity offered to donate the site for free on a 99 year lease but the proposal has become mired in controversy as abortion campaigners believe it might leave the hospital open to the influence of the order, something the nuns deny.

Bishop Kevin Doran has now said the Sisters of Charity should sell the site to the State “at the market value” – and he suggested they use the proceeds, which would be substantial, “to support the care of women in crisis pregnancy”.

In a homily in Sligo Cathedral, Bishop Doran said that some commentators “don’t seem to recognise the investment that the Sisters of Charity have made in the St Vincent’s site”.

He added that he was not just referring to the ownership of land but the “generous commitment of so many sisters who, for over a century, ploughed their own personal income back into their mission of healthcare” – a body of work he described as now being “written off as ‘religious interference”.

Bishop Doran said it seemed unfair, unreasonable and not at all in keeping with the charities legislation, that the nuns should be asked to offer its land as a free gift to the State and “to have no care for how that gift will be used”.

He suggested that the order should instead sell it to the State at market value, and use the proceeds to fund hospice care for children with life-limiting conditions or to support women with unexpected pregnancies or who had lost babies during pregnancy.

In a reference to abortion, the Bishop also added that the new Maternity Hospital would provide excellent standards of care but that procedures would be carried out which would “conflict with the Catholic ethos of healthcare”.

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