Deputy Kathleen Funchion
Sinn Féin TD, Kathleen Funchion, says the spending at St Luke's reveals the “lack of ambulance transportation available”.
She said: “I’m surprised at the high level of use of taxis. I can’t understand why staff would need a taxi to be provided and paid for.
“Ambulance drivers have suffered cut backs and they should be the ones transporting people home. I’d be concerned that if people can’t go by car, then they should be getting an ambulance, not a taxi.
"There are lots of questions to be asked and there needs to be more information on staff usage. How or why is it being paid for by the HSE? Is it safe for patients to go by taxis?
"The spending shows the lack of ambulance transportation available.
“The HSE are trying to cover for it by providing taxis instead of ambulances.”
The Kilkenny People reported this week that the hospital's taxi bill hit €260,000 over four years.
Meanwhile Fianna Fáil TD, John McGuinness, said: “This is not a reflection on taxi drivers. It is another example, if we needed one, of the total incompetence of HSE Management.
“The figures quoted underline the need for change, transparency and accountability.
“If current management cannot manage then they should make way for a better qualified management team fit for the job.
“This is public money, a scarce resource, and those that manage and spend it should show more respect.”