A surplus of €1.5 million was collected through parking fees at one typical Dublin hospital across one year.
According to new figures obtained from the Royal College of Surgeons Hospital (RSCI) group, Beaumont Hospital was earning some €30,000 per week through pay and display charges in 2019.
Similarly, the RCSI hospital group collected more than €3 million from its car parks in the year, with Irish hospitals collectively pulling in some €60,000 a day in 2017.
A review of hospital car parking charges has been suggested for some time now. Back in 2018, then Health Minister Simon Harris suggested a cap at €10 a day for those attending clinics. The HSE prepared recommendations for hospital car parking the following November but failed to publish them.
The issue is such an emotive one that it took pride of place in political party manifestos in advance of the recent general election. Fine Gael’s manifesto stated it wanted hospital car parking fees to have a daily cap. Sinn Féin said in its manifesto that it would phase out all hospital car parking fees.
The party's Ruairí Ó Murchú told Newstalk Breakfast that the cost of the fees is not fair on patients:
"We all accept that hospitals need money to run the show, but this issue was brought to me by a representative for the Irish Cancer Society. They had a campaign for cancer patients who are going through enough trauma and difficulty not to have to deal with sometimes huge payments.
"The government themselves have it in the Programme for Government that they're looking for a cap, that they're looking on some sort of flexible system and family rates and all that. But it's all well and good having that as a promise, we need to see action and delivery on it."