'We'll quit St James's over lack of car park spaces', warn nurses
St James's Hospital is facing a "mass exodus" of nursing staff over the removal of 300 car parking spaces, a union has warned.
The spaces have been removed to allow for the construction of the long-awaited children's hospital on the site.
The change was flagged with staff in 2015 but came into effect this week.
A spokeswoman for the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said St James's Hospital was now facing a mass exodus of staff - who will move to other hospitals that are more convenient.
Staff have been told they can park at locations off-site.
It is understood the limited parking on-site was full shortly after 7am yesterday.
Nurses are considering taking industrial action over the issue, stating that the safety of staff walking to and from the hospital was at risk.
A spokeswoman for the INMO said that nurses travelling from afar have no option other than to drive to work, as public transport operating hours mean it is impossible to get to the hospital in time for the start of their shifts.
She said that nurses enjoy working at the hospital, but may be forced to leave.
Cliona O'Byrne, from Skerries, has been working at the hospital for more than 16 years and told the Herald that she is considering moving to Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda, Beaumont Hospital or the Mater Hospital instead.
"There's no train and Luas that will get me into work on time for a shift at 7.30am - it's just not possible for me to take public transport," Cliona said.
"We're frustrated and we're upset at the lack of communication and the lack of respect.
"To be treated like this is very upsetting.
"I'd have to change my hours or leave - I could go to Beaumont, Drogheda or the Mater, all are closer, but I love working here."
Nurse Dominica Orawska (21), from Tallaght, said it's unfair to expect staff to go to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham to get their car after a 13-hour shift.
"In the winter, when it's dark, it's not the safest area to be walking around," she said.
A number of staff are understood to have written to the hospital's board requesting their resignation.
However, a spokeswoman for St James's Hospital told the Herald that they have been engaging with staff over the issue for close to a year.
She said that buses have been organised to transport staff to and from car parks.
"Additional parking for staff has been secured by the Hospital at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and a shuttle service is in operation to bring staff to and from the site.
"Parking is also available at the James's Steel car park, where opening hours have been extended and additional security added," she said.
Enabling works are underway at the hospital to make way for the children's hospital.
BAM construction, which is working on the project, has set up a 24/7 helpline for residents in the area.
Details of the phone-line number are due to be delivered to local houses this week.
A public meeting was also held with locals last week over the works.