Politics

Stvary case of the mayor and the maternity hospital


Besides being former lord mayors of Dublin, what do former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, former Green Party chief John Gormley, Seán D Dublin Bay Rockall Loftus, Vincent Ballyfermot Jackson, Carmencita Hederman, Emer Costello, Seán Haughey, Hazel Chu and dozens extra have in frequent?

It was one other former lord mayor of Dublin, Fianna Fáil’s Paul McAuliffe, who equipped the reply on Thursday night as a Dáil debate on the proposed new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) was drawing to a detailed.

The reply is that all the above have been governors of the Holles Street hospital. And Alison Gilliland, the present Lord Mayor, is now a member of the board.

McAuliffe dropped this mini-bombshell whereas addressing public considerations over the Government leasing the land on which the brand new hospital is to be constructed somewhat than proudly owning it outright. Having learn all of the paperwork, he mentioned, as a layman, he couldn’t discover any mechanism which might enable the owner or administration of St Vincent’s Hospital Group (SVHG) to intrude within the working of the clinically unbiased maternity hospital.

‘It was an honorary factor, however as of late firm regulation is, rightly, very strict’

And then, as he was with regards to possession and governance, he determined to return clear with Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

“Now Minister, in all the times I have talked to you about this, I have never mentioned it, but you might be surprised to hear that I am a former governor of the National Maternity Hospital.”

What? Who knew?

“When I was elected lord mayor, I was made a governor,” Paul revealed, including that it actually got here as a shock to him on the time. Not solely that, however when the chairman of Holles Street, aka the archbishop of Dublin, couldn’t attend, “I had the responsibility of chairing the meetings.”

While there’s a number of discuss in regards to the present hospital constructing being outdated, McAuliffe used his personal expertise to level out that the governance mannequin is totally outdated too, however this hasn’t prevented all legally permissible companies from being carried out within the NMH.

The archbishop of Dublin has by no means attended the board conferences and when the primary discover and “meeting pack” arrived within the Mansion House for brand spanking new incumbent Paul McAuliffe, he rapidly wrote again and mentioned he wouldn’t be attending any of them.

“When I was made Lord Mayor I think I was chair of about 20 different companies and I wrote to all of them and said ‘Look, I think it’s very bad governance nowadays for somebody to be put on your board that you didn’t choose and then for them to be replaced every 12 months.’ ” McAuliffe thinks the Holles Street appointment dates again to the National Maternity Hospital Act within the Thirties, when Alfie Byrne was lord mayor for all however one yr of that decade and was placed on all types of boards.

“My view was that corporate governance is totally different to what it was years ago and I wasn’t comfortable being made legally responsible for a company that I really knew nothing about. It used to be an honorary thing, but these days company law is, rightly, very strict so now you have to register board membership and declare to Sipo and all the rest.”

A hen for the absentee landlord

William Herbert’s ears will need to have been burning this week as a result of everybody was speaking about him after Stephen Donnelly casually dropped his identify on Wednesday morning in the course of the well being committee’s assembly on the NMH.

“The ownership of the land is not linked to the appointment of directors,” the Minister for Health defined to members, giving the instance of the present set-up. “The owner of the land under Holles Street is the Earl of Pembroke, whoever that is, and he has no influence.”

That can be William Alexander Sidney Herbert, the stinking wealthy 18th Earl of Pembroke, who owns a 14,000-acre property in Wiltshire and an impressive stately residence (used to movie inside scenes within the Netflix hits Bridgerton and The Crown) together with the freehold of the National Maternity Hospital and plenty of different properties across the Merrion Square space.

The rents paid by the State to British aristocratic landlords on this ridiculous throwback to our colonial previous isn’t precisely onerous. Figures launched again in 2011 for our floor hire obligations included €257.76 for Iveagh House, €220 for the Four Courts and €7.33 for Dublin Castle.

But nonetheless, each little counts.

In order to safe their Mansion House, the Corpo additionally agreed to supply a really costly loaf of double refined sugar weighing six kilos at Christmas

The proposed €10-a-year long-lease rental settlement between the State and St Vincent’s Hospital appears low-cost as compared. However, the Government continues to return below stress from the Opposition to persuade St Vincent’s to both present or promote the land to the State as an alternative of the lease choice. Sinn Féin is protecting the political drama going by bringing ahead a movement subsequent week on securing full public possession of the positioning and constructing.

Acquiring freehold possession of public buildings has at all times been sophisticated. Just over 300 years in the past, in 1715, property developer Joshua Dawson offered his Dawson Street residence with freehold to Dublin Corporation for £3,500, along with an annual hire of 40 shillings.

In order to safe their Mansion House, the Corpo additionally agreed to supply a really costly loaf of double refined sugar weighing six kilos at Christmas together with “two fat male hens”.

In return, Joshua Dawson agreed to construct on an additional room which might be used for civic receptions, and which remains to be used for this goal in the present day.

Two fats male hens? Maybe the Government might ship a pair over to the SVHG to seal the deal, if it’s nonetheless clinically acceptable.

But who?

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Niall Quinn and Gary Cooke on the Football Tour of Dublin
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Niall Quinn and Gary Cooke on the Football Tour of Dublin

Football-mad TD’s après Covid excursions

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and comic Gary Cooke’s Football Walking Tours of Dublin began up virtually two years in the past and ticked alongside quietly in the course of the pandemic. From the start, their distinctive tackle the historical past of soccer (not the accomplished factor to say soccer) within the capital picked up nice evaluations from the considerate aficionados who signed up for journeys.

Labour TD Ó Ríordáin might spend his working week speaking away in Leinster House and his Saturdays pounding constituency pavements in Dublin Bay North, however on Sunday he likes to chill out and unwind by pounding extra streets in Dublin whereas speaking for as much as two hours at a time to complete strangers.

Now that each one restrictions have been lifted, the football-loving duo are ramping up their tour schedule and growing the numbers allowed on every outing (25 max).

Ó Ríordáin and Cooke’s authentic tour meandered across the northside of town, starting within the shadow of Croke Park in Ballybough, stopping at areas of notice in Irish soccer historical past and normally ending up at Dalymount Park by the use of Tolka Park and Bertie Ahern’s Drumcondra. They discuss historical past and politics alongside the way in which – however strictly of the sporting selection. The yarns are nice.

There is a cease exterior the Archbishop’s Palace to recollect the time John Charles McQuaid tried to have a match towards Yugoslavia banned

Cooke, of Après Match fame, is famend for his impersonations of legends equivalent to Johnny Giles and Liam Brady and a few lad known as Eamon Dunphy, and he peppers his contributions with bursts of shining perception from the good males.

They muse on the troubled historical past of the sport and its perceived “Irishness” when considered towards the unsullied GAA. They probe the generally tough relationship with official Ireland. There is a cease exterior the Archbishop’s Palace in Drumcondra to recollect the time John Charles McQuaid tried to have a global match towards Yugoslavia banned.

And they surprise if the explanation why Ireland performed Poland so many occasions again within the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties was often because sure high-ranking FAI officers had been carrying on romantic liaisons with Polish ladies.

Now, out from below the shade of Covid, the 2 tour guides have been signed up internationally. Or at the least, they’ve been lured throughout to the darkish, sorry, south facet.

“We are setting off next Sunday [May 22nd] from the Little Museum of Dublin on St Stephen’s Green and exploring the great football connections on the south side of the city. Did you know that 38 senior internationals came from Ringsend?” says Aodhán, who’s somewhat nerdy about soccer and collects jerseys and programmes which he likes to supply throughout excursions. “We hope to keep going most Sundays for the rest of the summer.”

Booking particulars are on the Little Museum of Dublin’s web site. Meanwhile, the lads haven’t deserted their northside gig totally. Prospective punters can electronic mail FootballWalkingTour@gmail.com for data.

Harney holds her personal

Former tánaiste and chief of the Progressive Democrats Mary Harney made a uncommon go to to Leinster House on Thursday when she appeared earlier than the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) listening to into monetary governance points on the University of Limerick in 2020. She was there as chancellor and chair of the faculty governing board.

In response to questions, she mentioned it’s an unpaid position and she or he doesn’t declare bills for it.

Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy requested “the esteemed” witness in regards to the variety of boards and committees on which she sits.

Mary, who retired from the Dáil and nationwide politics in 2011, did a fast tot. “Well, I’m on the board of four private companies and I do other consulting as well.”

The assembly was sturdy in elements, with Harney and Independent TD Verona Murphy getting concerned in a brief spat over the chancellor’s position as a public curiosity director with KPMG.

Harney held her floor, as she did all through the session. The politicians had been impressed. Labour’s Seán Sherlock, whereas not sharing her ideology, praised her for at all times being “honourable, honest and straightforward”.

The chairman, Sinn Féin’s Brian Stanley, famous as he was wrapping up that it was the primary time Mary Harney had been earlier than a committee in his time. She earlier informed TDs her final go to was for the banking inquiry in 2015.

“I noticed as people came in, I would say the majority of them weren’t here when I was a deputy and I’m not gone that long.”

“I wasn’t one,” mentioned Stanley.

“I’m just telling you about the recycling of deputies, just to maybe warn you all,” she replied.

His colleague Matt Carthy chimed in gallantly, or possibly not: “Maybe we’ll all be as successful afterwards as you were.”

“I think, deputy Carthy, you’re very successful,” she informed him.

“You’ve been through all the battles over the nineties and the noughties,” cooed Stanley.

“I sure have,” smiled the witness. “I thought I learned how to watch my back, but it’s a constant . . . I describe myself, chairman, as a recovering politician.”

“We’ll settle on that,” mentioned Brian.

Afterwards, some long-serving Oireachtas officers mentioned Mary Harney’s efficiency. “Usually a figurehead-type like a chancellor just reads the opening statement and lets the permanent staff answer the questions. But she controlled it all. It was a masterclass in how to handle a committee meeting. I’d forgotten how good she was,” mentioned one.



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