Wednesday 24 July 2019

'I will never, ever pay fine': doctor blames HSE for parking offence

Defiant: Dr Maeve White is a community medical officer in Dublin. Photo: Frank McGrath
Defiant: Dr Maeve White is a community medical officer in Dublin. Photo: Frank McGrath
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A doctor has said she is prepared to go to jail rather than pay a €150 fine for parking in a disabled space in the course of her job, claiming she was "forced" to do so by the HSE.

Dr Maeve White, a south Dublin-based community medical officer, said she was left with no choice but to park in the space outside a health centre.

She said an ongoing parking problem in the area meant the disabled space was her only option and that she had a duty of care to her patients.

"I will never, ever pay this fine," she told Dún Laoghaire District Court.

Judge Anne Watkin warned she would go to prison if she did not pay it.

Dr White, of Brookvale Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin, pleaded guilty to parking illegally in a disabled space. The court heard the offence happened at St Brigid's, Church Road, Stillorgan, Dublin, at 2.10pm on February 26 last.

Dr White parked her car outside Stillorgan Health Centre, where she was due to carry out a clinic that afternoon, and maintains she could find no legal parking spaces.

"I did knowingly park in the disabled space, so I am guilty, yes," Dr White told Judge Watkin. "The situation is I was forced by my employer, the HSE, to park there. The only other option is to drive away."

"Nobody forced you," the judge replied. "Did they have a gun to your head?"

The judge appreciated that the doctor was "between a rock and a hard place".

Dr White said: "I will never, ever pay this fine," to which the judge replied: "I don't need to hear that you are going to be in contempt of court."

The judge added: "This is not a place to start dealing with your gripes against somebody else."

Judge Watkin said Dr White should take advice "if you think you are making a statement against the HSE by not paying a fine owed to another organisation".

Dr White said she believes the HSE is responsible for paying the fine, but it has refused.

"I chose to put patients first," she said.

The HSE cannot comment on an individual case, a spokesperson said.

Irish Independent

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