Plans to raise parking fees at Irish hospitals angers patient groups

IPA Interviewed by Extra.ie (Alison O’Reilly), 30th January 2019

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Stephen McMahon of the Irish Patients Association said the proposed price hike will impose a financial burden on those visiting sick family and friends in hospital. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins

It was reported yesterday that Dublin City Council is to increase on-street parking charges in the three most expensive parking zones.

It is the first parking hike since 2008, after councillors voted last November to increase prices.

However, last night Stephen McMahon of the Irish Patients Association said the proposed price hike will impose a financial burden on those visiting sick family and friends in hospital.

‘The big question is, what are they doing with this money? When you look at the issues of St James’s Hospital, and the proposed children’s hospital, the cynic in me says they are setting this up for when the hospital opens.

‘The fact St James’s Hospital is being hit with higher prices makes me think twice. Families and relatives are already dealing with visits to hospitals and parking, this is going to be another burden placed on their shoulders.

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St James’s Hospital. Pic: Collins

‘What are they doing, this is a direct taxation for people wanting to park their cars while visiting sick people in hospital.

‘I’d like to know what the council is doing for the health of the city of Dublin with this money and is it being invested in the health and well-being of the people of Dublin? These are huge taxes.’ The new charges will see the ‘yellow zone’ rise from €2.90 to €3.20 an hour, while just outside this area, ‘red zone’ rates will increase from €2.40 to €2.70.

The medium demand ‘green zone’ will remain at €1.60 per hour. The changes are to come into effect in July. And it is understood the council’s traffic department is now proposing to extend each of the high-demand zones to cover more streets. The expansion will mean some motorists currently paying €1.60 an hour for street parking, will see this fee rise to €2.70 – an almost 69pc increase.

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‘Burden’: Stephen McMahon. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The dearest parking zone in Dublin is the yellow zone, which will be extended on the north side, and those who park near the Mater Hospital will be hit with a €3.20 hourly charge.

The red zone will also extend on the north side and will take in the DIT college campus and the city’s docklands. The red zone stops at the new Central Bank building, but will now run to the 3Arena.

Resident roads in Ranelagh and Rathmines will also now be in the €2.70-an-hour red zone. Motorists around St James’s Hospital and the Coombe are now facing a €1.60 charge.

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Those who park near the Mater Hospital will be hit with a €3.20 hourly charge. Pic: Getty Images

The council will begin a public consultation on the charges next month.

In response to a series of questions by Extra.ie about the prices hikes, Dublin City Council said: ‘Dublin City Council is committed to reviewing the Parking Control Bye-Laws in 2019. Included in the draft Dublin City Council Parking Control Bye-Laws is a proposal for a number of changes in the tariff structure for street parking.’