Harris considers leasing maternity hospital land in U-turn on controversy

Irish Independent

Niall O’Connor
May 1 2017

Health Minister Simon Harris has said the issue of ownership of the planned National Maternity Hospital must be addressed as the debacle continues to jeopardise the €300m project.

In a significant shift in stance, the Government is now considering the option of a long-term lease agreement to circumvent current legal prohibitions on the Order of the Sisters of Charity selling or gifting the hospital to the State.

One source last night likened the lease option, which could run beyond 900 years, to the agreement surrounding the ownership of the Guinness storehouse in Dublin.

The minister is also understood to be preparing proposals for Cabinet which are designed to tackle the issue of ownership of other hospitals aside from St Vincent’s.

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