Tralee hospital’s parking charges ‘impacting welfare of residents’

Punitive daily parking charges of up to €12 at Kerry General Hospital (KGH) negatively impact on the welfare of local residents.

The HSE confirmed yesterday it secured almost €700,000 gross from parking charges at the Tralee hospital last year.

Meanwhile, €3m gross was collected in Cork’s University Hospital/Cork University Maternity Hospital complex last year.

Although charges at the Cork hospitals are higher, county councillors in Kerry yesterday highlighted the concerns of Tralee residents.

They claimed the charges at KGH impacted not just on patients and their visitors but also on nearby residential areas such as the Michael O’Regan Terrace and Marian Park.

Fianna Fáil councillor Norma Foley said charges at KGH were punitive and were having a negative knock-on effect on the welfare of residents.

Serving Kerry, north Cork, and west Limerick, KGH is one of the largest acute hospitals in the southern region, with 300 inpatient beds, a psychiatric unit, and out-patient facilities.

Ms Foley urged council officials to contact, once again, the HSE to seek a reduction in charges.

A council spokesman asserted “nothing can be done” about the parking of cars outside houses by non-residents. However, it was indicated illegal parking on yellow lines could be monitored and those parking fined.

In a statement, the HSE said parking charges are necessary for free traffic flow as well as to the income of the hospital in Tralee.

It also said the funding raised by parking was also used in Tralee for security and other services.

There were no plans to increase the charges at KGH, the spokesman said.

A HSE statement said: “There is significant demand on car parking at all hospitals. The efficient management of parking spaces and traffic flow on hospital campuses is crucial to ensure ongoing availability of parking spaces, free flow of traffic on campus, unobstructed access for emergency vehicles at all times, proper use of spaces designated for drivers with disabled permits and proper use of spaces designated as drop off points near the hospital entrance.”

Parking charges in Kerry are €3 per hour with a daily maximum of €12, compared to Cork at €4 per hour and €20 daily charge.

However weekly passes are available at all hospitals.

The gross figure for CUH and CUMH, meanwhile, before deducting Vat and associated running costs for 2014, was €2,966,180.

There are no parking charges at Mallow or Bantry general hospitals.

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