One Dublin councillor has branded the cost of food in hospital as 'extortion'.
Fine Gael's Vicki Casserly was speaking after she paid more than €8 for two sausage rolls and a cup of tea while in hospital with her son.
Councillor Casserly told Lunchtime Live the financial burden for families is unacceptable.
"I spend a lot of time in the children's hospital with my eldest son James, he's 16 and a half now.
"But the one thing that I have experienced and noticed over the years is the increased costs, the hidden cost of being in hospital with a sick child.
"It's not always seen or understood by everybody, but it's a huge issue for - I'd say - there's about 385,000 that go through Crumlin Hospital every year".
'Not a breakfast, not a lunch'
She says options are limited for carers, with two coffee docks in the hospital.
"I went down to get a cup of tea and two sausage rolls - not exactly nutritious, but your options are very limited - and it was €8.30.
"That's not a breakfast, a lunch, a dinner - it's a snack.
"It's the first time ever over the years I've said 'I'm going to get receipts'.
"I have been looking at this, I've been talking about it for over a year - but it was just one of those moments where it's like 'Are you sure that's right?'"
@vickicasserly #sickchildren #childreninhospital #nutrition #eathealthly #financialburden #healthyeating #dobetter #childrenshospital #health ♬ original sound - Vicki Casserly
She says this is taking advantage of the most vulnerable.
"You're trying to run to eat, to keep yourself sustained, to manage to do what you need to do in the hospital.
"But it's just extortion and I suppose to me, it's just taking advantage of the most vulnerable in our community in extenuating circumstances".
She adds: "It may not sound like a lot of money, but you're there for eight or nine hours at a time.
"There is a staff canteen there, and I suppose you could get a dinner - for example - for €7.
"Inpatients can't go in, so if you can leave your child to go down and get a bite to eat, it's still €7.
"But if your child is in for a week, you're talking €7 a day just for your dinner.
"Put your parking charges on top of that as well, put your breakfast on top of that... it's just extremely challenging for so many families out there".
And she believes this should be subsidised.
"There's so many parents in there like that, that I just think it needs to be looked at, I think it needs to be understood, I think it needs to be subsidised.
"There is no need to be profiteering on those that are most vulnerable in our hospital settings".