Hospital faces exodus of nurses over parking row
St James's Hospital in Dublin is facing a "mass exodus" of nursing staff over the removal of 300 car parking spaces, a union has warned.
The spaces have been removed to allow for the construction of the long-awaited children's hospital on the site.
The change was flagged with staff in 2015 but only came into effect this week.
A spokeswoman for the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said nursing staff may now choose to move to other hospitals that are more convenient.
Additional parking for staff has been secured at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and a shuttle service is in operation to bring staff to and from the site.
Nurses are considering taking industrial action over the issue, stating that the safety of staff walking to and from the hospital was at risk.
A spokeswoman for the INMO said nurses travelling from afar have no option other than to drive to work, as public transport operating hours mean it is impossible to get to the hospital in time for the start of their shifts. She said nurses enjoy working at the hospital, but may be forced to leave.
Cliona O'Byrne, from Skerries, has been working at the hospital for more than 16 years. She said she is considering moving to another hospital such as Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda.
"There's no train and Luas that will get me into work on time for a shift at 7.30am - it's just not possible for me to take public transport," Cliona said.
Nurse Dominica Orawska (21), from Tallaght, said it's unfair to expect staff to go to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham to get their car after a 13-hour shift. "In the winter, when it's dark, it's not the safest area to be walking around," she said.