Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has welcomed the news that her party will be proposing the scrapping of hospital parking fees in their next manifesto.
The Ireland South MEP said that while prices varied across the country, some of the charges being applied, particularly for long term patients and their families, amounted to little more than a tax on illness.
“Hospital car parking fees are an unnecessary and often unfair charge applied to people at what may well be the most traumatic and vulnerable period of their lives,” she said.
“When taking people to emergency departments or visiting ill or injured relatives, the last thing on a person’s mind will be parking charges, regardless of their own financial situation.
“It’s deeply cynical of hospital management to take advantage of people in this way, particularly those suffering from long term illnesses and their families.
“There is no uniformity across the sector and prices vary wildly from hospital to hospital. And while some hospitals have stated that funds from parking go back into the running of the hospital, others are, outrageously, run by private companies, with profits going to their coffers.
“The entire system is in serious need of regulation and we believe the only way to ensure that the ill, the vulnerable or lower income families aren’t taken advantage of or lumbered with huge charges they can’t afford is to scrap them altogether.”