Work aimed at placing the site of the planned National Maternity Hospital in full State ownership is tonight described as ongoing.

It follows a meeting of the leaders of the three government parties.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly is now set to meet the St Vincent's Hospital Group and the Sisters of Charity to discuss the matter further.

The Government will not oppose a Dáil motion on the issue this week.

The Social Democrats motion will call for the new maternity hospital to be fully publicly owned.

Separately, protocols currently being finalised by the Health Minister, to ensure that partners of women giving birth are allowed into maternity units during labour will be sent to hospitals before the end of the week.

The protocols would allow for what is called emergency attendances at the country’s 19 maternity units.

New National Maternity Hospital back in focus