After 183 years of providing care for patients at St Vincent’s Hospital at Elm Park, Dublin, the Sisters of Charity have recently announced that they will withdraw all involvement in the hospital. This decision comes in light of the fact that the Sisters' numbers have been steadily decreasing in recent years.
There has also been backlash directed towards the State for showing their support for an establishment which does not provide for abortions. Both factors, particularly the latter, have contributed to this recent decision, and this could very well be the first of many similar situtations where other religious orders withdraw their invovlvement in hospitals. This idea, since it further separates the Church and State in Ireland, is the general hope of liberals across the nation as expressed in the Irish Times:
For the Catholic Church, it may not end there; it seems likely that other church institutions involved in health and education may beat a hasty retreat in the face of public antipathy to their continuing involvement in these sectors of society. The sisters’ announcement has been welcomed across the spectrum."