Gateway Initiative jobs could help protect Merlin Woods, says Cllr McDonnell

Employing part-time workers within Galway City Council as part of the new Gateway Initiative is a huge opportunity to protect the environment in Galway city, particularly in threatened areas such as Merlin Woods, according to Independent councillor Declan McDonnell.

At a recent Galway City Council meeting, Cllr McDonnell highlighted the damage and theft of more than 100 trees from Merlin Woods, which are being cut down for private use and for sale.

Acknowledging the campaign work by community activists, Friends of Merlin Woods and the Doughiska Residents’ Association, Cllr McDonnell said the Gateway Initiative announced by the Government last week is an ideal opportunity to help clean up areas of the woods and act as wardens to prevent further culling, particularly at weekends.

Speaking this week, Cllr McDonnell said: “The new Gateway Initiative will allow long-term unemployed people to work for Galway City Council in the parks department and I am arranging a meeting with Galway City Council officials to discuss how this scheme could be of huge benefit in protection of Merlin Woods. I have to acknowledge the wonderful work done by the volunteers, who regularly help to clean up the woods around our city, but employing workers under the new initiative will complement the work of volunteers and will hopefully stop the culling of more trees. This scheme could also be expanded to working with the existing CE schemes across our city and to improve the landscaping and environment in our estates.”

Cllr McDonnell is urging the city manager, Brendan McGrath to apply for as many position as possible to help in all areas of the city, but particularly to help Merlin Woods.

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