The HSE assurance follows an outcry at a meeting of Killarney Town Council which branded the parking charges — reportedly among the country’s highest — as immoral and obscene.
Visitors are being charged €5 if they park for more than an hour, Labour’s Cllr Sean O’Grady claimed.
“This is obscene. It is a grossly unjust, outrageously arrogant thing to do — visiting the sick is one of the corporal works of mercy. There is a whole moral question on whether the state should charge at all for such visits,” he said.
The HSE, he said, had “the whip hand” because people and patients needed to see their loved ones and the HSE was charging what it liked.
“People are being saddled and being ridden to death by the HSE,” Mr O’Grady said.
However, yesterday, the HSE issued a statement saying the parking charge was introduced to deal with volume and to ensure more turnover in car park spaces at the busy hospital.
The hospital is the second largest acute facility in the HSE South and serves north Cork, west Limerick and Kerry.
The HSE said parking was free for the first 20 minutes and, after that, €3 for the first hour, €5 for two hours up to a maximum of €12 per day.
There was a system in place for seven-day discounted parking at a cost of €35 a week.
The income from the parking was used for the upkeep of the car parks and security cameras and their management systems.