A multi-storey car park would solve many of the car-parking difficulties at Mayo University Hospital.
That’s according to Cllr Frank Durcan (Ind) who was speaking at last Wednesday’s meeting of the Castlebar Municipal District of Mayo County Council.
Councillors were briefed by Lucy Martindale, Assistant General Manager at Mayo University Hospital, following previous concerns raised by councillors about the lack of car parking immediately outside the entrance doors to the hospital.
Ms Martindale said a review of the area in question has freed up four additional parking spaces, two disabled spaces and two set-down parking spaces.
However, she did concede there were ‘not enough’ set-down spaces or disabled spaces close to the hospital entrance.
And that the problems were exacerbated by people who ‘do not need to use the set down spaces or disabled spaces using them’. She said hospital security staff try to encourage people to park in the hospital car park to the east of the main building but are not always successful in their efforts.
However, Cllr Frank Durcan, with the backing of several of his council colleagues, argued for a multi-storey car park to be built between the Westport Road entrance to the hospital and the main hospital doors.
He said people would be able to access the hospital directly and not have to go outside and that the facility would be self-financing, as people would pay to use it.
‘Not fit for purpose’
Cllr Michael Kilcoyne (Ind) said the current hospital car-park was not fit for purpose as it is located downhill from the hospital doors.
“In some cases visitors would have pneumonia by the time they get in from the car park. I don’t know who designed a car park at the bottom of a hill and people going in who have to be seen with cardiac problems,” he said.
Cllr Therese Ruane (Sinn Féin) said she knew from personal experience how difficult it is to bring someone to the hospital door who cannot walk in from the car park and said were it not for the ‘brilliant’ volunteer service at the hospital, it would not be possible.
Cllr Al McDonnell (Fianna Fáil) commended the ‘extraordinary efforts’ made by the staff of the hospital who have been working tirelessly under pressures of overcrowding at the hospital, but he also maintained that the parking situation is a big problem and it requires attention.
Ms Martindale said she would bring the suggestion for a multi-storey car park back to hospital management but said ‘we do not currently have any plans for a multi-storey car park’.