HSE parking row rumbles on in Buncrana

Medical-Block-1-Letterkenny

HSE Staff in Buncrana are continuing to plead for free parking in the town, despite the Health Service refusing to comment whether similar treatment is given to their workers elsewhere in the county.

Last month, in a letter before the Municipal District of Inishowen Council meeting in Buncrana, HSE staff from 10a Lower Main Street Buncrana and the Health Clinic on the Cockhill Road asked for ‘special consideration’ regarding the pay and display parking charges in place in the town.

The staff asked to be exempt from parking charges as they believed they were at a disadvantage by having to work in Inishowen in comparison to other staff within the Health Organisation.

They also claimed that if they are not given free parking then key services available in the town, such as palliative care, dental, speech therapy and clinical psychology, could suffer.

However, when the ‘Inishowen Independent’ asked if HSE staff based in other towns throughout the country were given similar ‘special consideration’, they refused to answer.

Instead a spokesperson for the Health Service Executive said there were a variety of car parking provisions in place for staff employed across Donegal.

In regards to Buncrana, the spokesperson said there was currently an agreement in place, which allocates five free parking spaces for their staff.

“Staff working for the HSE are employed across Donegal in a large variety of locations.  The premises may be owned by the HSE or leased from private landlords and will have a variety of car parking provisions,” the spokesperson said.

“Under rental agreement for the premises at 10a Lower Main Street, Buncrana it has a total of five free parking spaces that are allocated to the HSE which are utilised on a first come basis.”

However, a senior Council source has moved to quash any suggestion that these allocated spaces are Council owned. He said the five free spaces are attached to the building which they lease in Buncrana and that under no circumstances has the Council given the HSE workers free parking passes.

The source said as far as they were concerned it was a matter for the workers to take up with the HSE themselves and not for the Council to be involved.

It is understood that previously HSE staff working in the town were able to recoup their parking expenses from their employers, however it is believed that agreement is no longer in place.

There was no response from the HSE regarding this by the time the paper went to press yesterday.