Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar.

Over €7 million raised by parking and clamping fees at local hospitals

Over €7 million has been taken in by the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar, Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe and Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore since 2012 from parking and clamping fees.

Mullingar Hospital received its highest figure in 2019, €410,115, and its lowest in 2020, receiving €142,098. The total amount of money the hospital collected since 2012 amounts to €2.858 million.

Portiuncula Hospital received almost €171,000 in 2015, its highest income, and €76,197 in 2020, its lowest. The hospital’s total intake across the eight years comes to €1.254 million.

Similarly, €3.362 million has been taken in by the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore since 2012 from parking and clamping fees. The hospital received its highest figure in 2019, €510,629, and its lowest in 2014, receiving €360,426.

The figures come following Aontú Leader Peader Tóibín’s parliamentary question to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly for totals received for each hospital in the country.

Yvonne Goff, National Director for Acute Planning and Strategy for the HSE, wrote to Deputy Tóibín with the figures and stated that “hospitals introduced car parking charges over the past decade to cover such services' costs without impacting the hospitals’ budget for patient services.

“As demand for car parking at hospitals increases, so too does the associated cost of providing these services, such as the initial capital cost of purchasing or renting parking areas, the cost of developing extra parking spaces, the need to provide and upgrade security systems, provide staffing and general maintenance of the car parks.

“The majority of acute hospitals around the country charge for parking at this stage, with nine acute hospitals providing free parking.”

Deputy Tóibín has highlighted the need for Aontú’s New Hospital Car Parking Charges Bill, which provides for an entitlement to free parking for up to three hours in the carpark of a public hospital, where an occupant of the vehicle (either the driver or a passenger) is attending the hospital to receive out-patient services.

“Since 2012, Hospital Car Parks across the country took in a little over €100 million in receipts from car parking and clamping charges,” he said.

“It would have been higher, and the receipts for 2020 would have been higher, were it not for the suspension of non-Covid healthcare services for the majority of 2020.

“The Irish Cancer Society has also campaigned for a cut in hospital car parking charges. These charges are especially financially hard on cancer patients and patients who are critically ill, as many of them will have to regularly attend hospital for treatment.

“At the very least in our Health Service, cancer patients and critically ill patients should not have to worry about parking charges whilst they are in receiving vital treatment.”