I propose to take Questions Nos. 189 to 191, inclusive, together.
I am advised that there were extensive efforts to find either a private or public purchaser for the Mount Carmel Hospital. I am advised that in early 2013, Goodbody Corporate Finance were retained by the owners of Mount Carmel to sell it as a going concern. A detailed sales campaign began in April 2013. 49 potential purchasers were approached, of which 28 signed non-disclosure agreements. Five bids were submitted during the Phase 1 sales process. By Phase 2 however there was only one interested party. Another party considered making a bid after the sales process. The bids received were not commercially acceptable as they were heavily conditional, involving low upfront payments together with deferred unsecured payments.
In addition to commercial bidders, the Department of Health and HSE were approached but they declined to enter into discussions with a view to the purchase of the hospital. My colleague, the Minister for Health is on the public record as saying that purchasing the Mount Carmel Hospital as a going concern would unnecessarily expose the State to significant financial risks, would be contrary to Government policy aimed at supporting the provision of maternity services on the same sites as adult acute hospitals, and could not be justified by reference to Central Statistics Office data which indicate that the birth rate is declining and that this decline is projected to continue for the rest of this decade.
NAMA acquired the loans which were secured by the assets of the Mount Carmel Hospital Group in 2010. In the interim, it has funded losses of close to €10m while it has sought, in conjunction with the owner, to put in place arrangements which would enable the hospital to operate on a viable basis. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to formulate such arrangements and financial projections indicate that this position is unlikely to change in the near future. NAMA cannot continue to fund unsustainable losses in what is a private medical business.