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'Really disappointing' - Dublin City Council to resume charging HSE workers parking near hospitals


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Dublin City Council will resume charging HSE workers parking near hospitals after this month.

In March, the council had instructed Dublin Street Parking Services to exercise discretion when clamping cars parked in areas surrounding hospitals.

In a memo sent yesterday to the Lord Mayor and Elected Members, Dublin City Council (DCC) chief executive Owen Keegan said that due to increasing traffic volumes and demand for on-street parking, residents with permits are currently unable to access on-street parking near their homes.

Mr Keegan said the relaxed parking restrictions "cannot be sustained" and full enforcement will resume in September.

"The non-enforcement of paid parking restrictions in respect of vehicles owned by HSE staff, parked in the vicinity of hospitals was always intended to be a temporary measure.

"At the time it was introduced it was not a major issue in the various locations where it applied, as there was limited demand for on-street parking. However, with the resumption in economic activity there has been a significant recovery in traffic volumes and in on-street parking demand," he said.

"This has led to a situation where residents with Residents Parking Permits, living in the vicinity of major hospitals, cannot access on-street parking at or close to their homes at certain times.

"A decision has now been made that the concession will end on 31 August, after which a full parking enforcement service will operate in the vicinity of hospitals."

Sinn Féin councillor Séamas McGrattan has called for the council to reconsider its decision and extend free parking for health workers.

"Dublin City Council management have confirmed that free parking for health care staff is to end at the end of August. But the Covid-19 pandemic won’t," he said.

"Nurses and doctors will continue to put their lives on the line, continuing to carry the stress and isolation of being front line staff. Healthcare workers deserve the city’s support and solidarity. Free parking is the least that they can expect at this time."

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He added that he has written to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, DCC, the HSE and others to ensure that free parking is available for healthcare workers.

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation industrial relations officer, Mary Rose Carroll said healthcare workers will be "really disappointed" over the resumption of parking charges.

"It has been an exceptionally stressful time in the health service, and the provision of parking has made a big difference.

"Nurses and midwives have shown incredible commitment during the pandemic, taking great risks to provide care. It is unreasonable that they should have to pay over €35 a day to simply park at work," she said.

"Due to late shifts, fatigue, and infection risk, public transport isn’t an option for many of our members. Even if society is slowly normalising, COVID hasn't gone away.

"We understand the council is under pressure, but now the onus is on the employers to either provide parking directly or make an arrangement with the council to ensure there are still parking options."

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