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The hiring of the Pillar Room is organised through the Rotunda Foundation, which raises funds to support research and development at the hospital. In March, the Together for Yes initiative staged its campaign launch at the Pillar Room, which is located on hospital grounds. The group was advocating for repeal of the Eighth Amendment.
The hospital subsequently emphasised that it did not support any political organisation or agenda.
According to a brochure on the Rotunda Foundation’s website, the Pillar Room Complex “comfortably accommodates a wide range of functions”, including gala dinners, wedding receptions, conferences, corporate receptions, press launches and Christmas parties. “All revenue generated from the hire of the complex is used to finance the Rotunda Hospital’s Research Fund,” states the brochure.
Hotel venues were used by two prominent anti-repeal groups to launch their campaigns. The Save the 8th campaign launch took place at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin, while the Love Both launch was held at the Alex Hotel in Dublin.
According to minutes of the Rotunda Hospital’s Board meeting in April, Master Prof Fergal Malone “spoke on the necessity of good communication between the hospital and the Foundation, particularly in light of a current media event concerning hire of the Pillar Room. A formal communication has been agreed, with future bookings to be advised to hospital management.”
Formalisation of the Foundation Liaison Committee and its future agenda was also agreed upon, outlined the meeting minutes.
Previously, the Rotunda Hospital has been drawn into controversy associated with the Real Bodies Exhibition at the Ambassador Theatre in Dublin, which is leased-out by the hospital. The Board discussed the “ethics” of the exhibition, which involved displays of preserved human remains.
As previously reported in the Medical Independent, the Medical Council communicated its concern to the Department of Health about the nature of this exhibition, including on issues of consent.