Health Minister Leo Varadkar is to be canvassed on site next week for a commitment to provide funding for the promised new state of the art Galway Hospice facility at Merlin Park.
There has been a widespread welcome for the announcement that a new hospice facility is to be developed on the grounds of Merlin Park. Galway Hospice Foundation has reached an agreement with the HSE to purchase 14 acres of land adjoining the main Galway Dublin road where the 26-bedroom unit will be located.
The new hospice will include woodland walkways, cabins, and themed sensory gardens for its patients and their families. An application to Galway City Council for planning permission for the new development will be initiated over the coming year. The development timeframe is a minimum of five years.
Outgoing chief executive of the organisation Sean O’Healy described the plans as the most significant development since the establishment of the foundation itself back in 1987. “This is hugely important for the future of Galway Hospice. The extent of the available lands allows for the creation of the optimum setting and supportive environment for providing patient and family-focused palliative care and end-of-life services, with lots of space, walkways, woodland cabins, themed and sensory gardens, the very best environment within which the core clinical services can be delivered with our acknowledged compassion and quality of care.’’
There is no HSE funding currently available for this development, so the hospice will raise the funds for the capital costs. Mr O’Healy says the planned new development is the culmination of many years of searching and planning. “It represents a new dawn for Galway Hospice, and a fitting tribute to those that have unwaveringly supported the organisation financially and through voluntary service since our establishment.”
Meanwhile, the foundation is proceeding with the addition of six inpatients beds in its temporary accommodation at the existing site, together with the construction of a new entrance from the main Dublin Road, and the provision of additional parking spaces.
Fine Gael TD for Galway West, Brian Walsh, has welcomed the announcement. Deputy Walsh said the development signalled a bright future for the organisation and its award-winning service. “I have asked that funding for the new facility be included in the Government’s forthcoming capital investment plan, and I am hopeful that this will happen and support can be provided in that way. I will be visiting Galway Hospice with Minister for Health Leo Varadkar next week to reiterate the case for funding to be provided in respect of the expansion in the next HSE Service Plan. The timing of this visit is very important, and it’s a useful opportunity for the Minister to see the fantastic work of the hospice at first hand.’’