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TD: St. Vincent’s Hospital debate full of “anti-Catholic” rhetoric

A TD has hit out at much of the debate around St. Vincent’s Hospital, describing much of the rhetoric as “anti-Catholic.”

The comments were made by Aontú leader Peadar Toibín TD following controversial tweets by pro-abortion activist Dr. Peter Boylan.

Boylan tweeted his frustration this week that the hospital, which was formerly owned by the Church but is now run by the HSE, still holds Mass in the oratory and offers optional chaplaincy services for those who want it.

Toibín replied to the remarks in the Dáil.


“It is astounding that Peter Boylan’s tweet last night made the big reveal that there is a chaplaincy in St. Vincent’s Hospital, and this chaplaincy provides information on the television channel on which patients can access mass, if they want,” he said.

“Is this where we are in Ireland in 2022? Forget about the 1 million people on hospital waiting lists. Hold the front page – there is mass in the chaplaincy in St. Vincent’s. What is going on in this country at the moment is incredible.”

Toibín went on to say that much of the debate regarding this issue featured an “anti-Catholic invective.”


“I have heard some of the language that has been used on the radio and television and in these Chambers in recent weeks, from Deputy Ó Ríordáin’s desire to vet civil servants for their level of Catholic faith, and his call to get them out of the schools. To the Social Democrat’s motion which stated that the Catholic ethos is a threat to women’s healthcare. To People Before Profit blaming the education in Catholic schools for violence against women,” he said.

“All of this is untrue, and much of it borders on hate speech. For hundreds of years in this country, the health service and the education service was provided by the Catholic Church and the volunteer work of men and women.”

He added: “Indeed, the chaplaincy that was attacked in Peter Boylan’s tweet is one of the many chaplaincies and organisations which provided comfort and consolation, at great risk to themselves, to believers and non-believers during the darkest days of the Covid crisis.”


Toibín stated that “the only profession” not thanked at the Government’s remembrance for Covid were Irish priests and nuns who “buried our dead” and “consoled our families at great risk to themselves.”

He also outlined the charitable work that the Church was doing “in areas of government neglect.”

“There have been great wrongs carried out by the church in the past, but there has been great good delivered for generations too,” he said.

“For every wrongdoer there were dozens of good people doing the best they could for the right reasons. There is hardly a family in the State that has not benefited from Catholic healthcare or education in the last century.”

The Deputy added: “It must be remembered that in the darkest parts of our institutional past the State was equally culpable in those situations.”


Responding to Toibín’s speech, Senator Rónán Mullen said: “Peadar Toibín telling nit as it is.”

He added: “The National Maternity Hospital controversy has been a cover story for some very modern bigotry and intolerance and hardly anyone has called it out.”


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