Latest: Fine Gael TD calls on Government to buy maternity hospital land from religious order

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Update 3.35pm: A Government TD has broken ranks to call on Health Minister Simon Harris to consider buying the €300m land on which the new national maternity hospital will be built in a bid to end the escalating scandal, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith.

Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell urged the move as a way to resolve the stand-off, saying either entering into a long-term lease with the Sisters of Charity or buying the land outright is the only realistic option.

Speaking on RTE Radio’s Today with Sean O’Rourke as Sinn Féin confirmed it will table a motion seeking legal guarantees the hospital “remains entirely within public ownership” and will be independent in all clinical matters, Ms O’Connell said ownership remains the key issue in the dispute.

While Minister Harris has to date refused to speculate on purchasing the new National Maternity Hospital site, she said the Health Minister must consider the move during the coming month of talks with all groups involved.

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