West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

New Hospital Car Park Charge 'scandalous'

Published: 8 May, 2012

Sinn Feins Anne Marie Fitzgerald has described plans to introduce car parking fees at the new hospital in Enniskillen as 'scandalous'. She claimed that patients and visitors would have to pay up to 70p per hour for car parking at the new building, which is currently under construction. She was speaking after a meeting of local community groups and organisations in the Community House in Omagh Last Friday. Additionally Councillor Fitzgerald urged individuals and community groups to respond to the public consultation exercise which is currently open until 18th of May. The meeting was addressed by Will Dorman and Joanne Quinn from the Western Trust and was attended by a number of community groups from the local area. The representatives from the trust outlined the proposed plan for introducing car parking charges on the site of the new hospital. They revealed that there would be nearly 780 park bays, of these over 200 would be paid and the rest would be free of charge. Charging would be for short terms patents and visitors as well as those attending A+E. There was unanimous rejection of such a proposal being implemented at the meeting. Speaking on the issue councillor Fitzgerald said: "This proposal if implemented is beyond belief. It is scandalous that patients and visitors will have to pay to park at the new hospital which aims to serve the people of Tyrone and Fermanagh. The proposed hourly rate of 70p for parking is extortionate and goes far beyond what people would expect to pay when using pay to use car parking. "Access to services is a fundamental right and certainly there is a potential contravention of section 75 equality legislation in regards to these car parking charges. Furthermore these charges come at a time when local people are being faced with a wide range of price increases and are already stretched in trying to make ends meet. Certainly this one charge which they could do without. "This proposal amounts to an attack on the sick and most vulnerable and must be rejected. To this end I would call upon local people to have an input into the public consultation and make your views known. The public consultation is open now and will close on 18th May.