‘I will never, ever pay fine’: doc­tor blames HSE for park­ing of­fence

Irish Independent - - News | Health - An­drew Phe­lan

A DOC­TOR has said she is pre­pared to go to jail rather than pay a €150 fine for park­ing in a dis­abled space in the course of her job, claim­ing she was “forced” to do so by the HSE.

Dr Maeve White, a south Dublin-based com­mu­nity med­i­cal of­fi­cer, said she was left with no choice but to park in the space out­side a health cen­tre.

She said an on­go­ing park­ing prob­lem in the area meant the dis­abled space was her only op­tion and that she had a duty of care to her pa­tients.

“I will never, ever pay this fine,” she told Dún Laoghaire District Court.

Judge Anne Watkin warned she would go to prison if she did not pay it.

Dr White, of Brook­vale Road, Rath­farn­ham, Dublin, pleaded guilty to park­ing il­le­gally in a dis­abled space. The court heard the of­fence hap­pened at St Brigid’s, Church Road, Stil­lor­gan, Dublin, at 2.10pm on Fe­bru­ary 26 last.

Dr White parked her car out­side Stil­lor­gan Health Cen­tre, where she was due to carry out a clinic that af­ter­noon, and main­tains she could find no le­gal park­ing spa­ces.

“I did know­ingly park in the dis­abled space, so I am guilty, yes,” Dr White told Judge Watkin. “The sit­u­a­tion is I was forced by my em­ployer, the HSE, to park there. The only other op­tion is to drive away.”

“No­body forced you,” the judge replied. “Did they have a gun to your head?”

The judge ap­pre­ci­ated that the doc­tor was “be­tween a rock and a hard place”.

Dr White said: “I will never, ever pay this fine,” to which the judge replied: “I don’t need to hear that you are go­ing to be in con­tempt of court.”

The judge added: “This is not a place to start deal­ing with your gripes against some­body else.”

Judge Watkin said Dr White should take ad­vice “if you think you are mak­ing a state­ment against the HSE by not pay­ing a fine owed to an­other or­gan­i­sa­tion”.

Dr White said she be­lieves the HSE is re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing the fine, but it has re­fused.

“I chose to put pa­tients first,” she said.

The HSE can­not com­ment on an in­di­vid­ual case, a spokesper­son said.

De­fi­ant: Dr Maeve White is a com­mu­nity med­i­cal of­fi­cer in Dublin

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