A protest is set to take place today against the government plans to hand ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital to the Sisters of Charity.

The demonstration is set to take place outside the Department of Health at Hawkins House in Dublin this lunchtime from 1-2pm.

The protest aims to notify the government of the feelings that Irish citizens have about the decision. 

Councillor Éilish Ryan from the Workers Party said: 'The decision to grant ownership of the National Maternity Hospital makes a mockery of the supposed neutrality of the Citizens’ Assembly.'

'Do any of us really believe that, if and when the 8th amendment of our constitution is repealed, any new legislation for abortion will be implemented fully in a hospital wholly owned by the Catholic Church?'

'Every week another story emerges of the extraordinary harm done to women by the church, with state complicity, in this country.'

'What good is it to agree, finally, to remove archaic, church-written clauses from our constitution, if we hand over women’s healthcare to that same church?' 

There is a petition underway online in an attempt to draw attention to the issue, which has garnered over 50,000 signatures in 24 hours. 

'The church – and any private body – has no place in the provision of healthcare.'

'Maternity care gets to the root of how we value women in this country, and historically has been where women have been worst treated by our state. Its time for us to change that record,' finished Councillor Ryan.