Archbishop still seeking clarity on abortion

Almost a year after the Mater Hospital controversially agreed to comply with the Government’s abortion law, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is still seeking clarity from the Sisters of Mercy for their stance on the issue.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese confirmed there is “no update” on discussions between the archbishop and the nuns who own the Catholic-run hospital.

In March, the archdiocese described talks between the order and Dr Martin as “ongoing” on how the institution would comply with an abortion law while retaining its Catholic ethos.

The board of the Mater announced in September 2013 that it would comply with the Government’s abortion legislation which permits the direct targeting of the unborn child in the womb for the first time.


Dr Martin vowed to seek clarity from the nuns after the board of the Catholic hospital’s statement that it “will comply with the law as provided for in the Act”.

Hospital authorities refused at the time to give further clarity on the issue or how the issue affects the Catholic ethos of the hospital.

The archbishop’s spokeswoman previously confirmed to The Irish Catholic that he “has met with the Sisters of Mercy and the matter is ongoing”.

While the archbishop has insisted he has no direct governance role in the hospital, he does have a role in Church law to guarantee that Catholic institutions are living up to the teaching of the Church.

The Archdiocese of Dublin also acts as a member of the hospital’s parent company, and the archbishop has a nominee on the hospital’s board of directors.

The abortion law – which permits termination of the unborn child up to birth in certain circumstances – took effect in January 2014.