Statistics released to Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD by the HSE have shown that over €2 million euro has been made through hospital car park charges and clamping fees in Mayo since 2012.
In response to the figures released to them, the party's representative for Mayo, Paul Lawless, has called on all four Mayo TDs to support his party's Bill to allow for free parking for patients in hospitals around the country.
Lawless said: "Since 2012, hospital car parks across the country took in a little over €100 million in receipts from car parking and clamping charges.
"During this period, a total of €2,140,827 has been collected in MUH off the backs of patients in the hospital here in Castlebar. The receipts for 2020 would have been higher, were it not for the suspension of non-Covid healthcare services for the majority of 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and government policies.
"These statistics are very sad, as we know that a considerable number of these patients are seriously ill. The idea of charging these people for parking sounds cruel enough as it is, but to think that there are patients in the hospital getting clamped if they don't have a ticket on their car, is particularly distressing.
"The government should be doing more to alleviate unnecessary burdens such as car parking charges for patients, some of whom are fighting for their very lives. They shouldn't have to face the stress of worrying about the car park bill at the end of the day.
"Aontú's Bill, which we submitted through the channels in the Oireachtas last week, provides for an entitlement to free parking for up to three hours in the carpark of a public hospital, where an occupant of the vehicle (either the driver or a passenger ) is attending the hospital to receive out-patient services.
"I'm really urging all TDs here in Mayo to support Aontú's Bill and ensure it is passed swiftly through both houses of the Oireachtas. Before the last election, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Labour, promised either to cap Hospital car parking charges or provide free parking for patients, yet this has not happened yet.
"Patients cannot wait for the government to get it together to finally resolve this. The Irish Cancer Society has also campaigned for a cut in hospital car parking charges.
"Paying car parking charges when you are attending out-patients services or emergency services at your local hospital is an additional and unnecessary stress and pressure for many people to deal with.
"These charges are especially financially hard on patients such as cancer patients or patients who are critically ill who may have to return regularly for hospital treatment. This Bill offers immediate relief and support to those patients, it needs to be passed."