Public urged to sign petition for new hospice in Merlin Park

Galway Hospice is appealing to the public to sign a petition to enable it to build a new state-of-the-art hospice on a 14 acre HSE site on the grounds of Merlin Park Hospital.

The Renmore based organisation is seeking people’s help to ensure that the proposed rezoning is approved when city councillors vote for a second time in November after considering submissions from the public on the issue.

Galway Hospice reached agreement last year with the HSE to purchase 14 acres of land at Merlin Park for the development of a new hospice. It will support the current and future palliative care needs of Galway people which have increased significantly over recent years.

Earlier this year the hospice increased the capacity of its inpatient unit in Renmore by 50 per cent. However despite this, there is a waiting list for beds regularly. There is no potential for further development at the current site.

The availability of the HSE lands at Merlin Park comes at the end of a five year search for a suitable site across every area of Galway city, according to a spokesperson for the hospice.

“Galway Hospice considers the HSE site to be particularly suitable in that it is co-located with Merlin Park Hospital, allowing for sharing of resources. It is easily accessible with good bus routes and nearby motorway access, and the woodland environment offers a unique tranquil environment for patients and families to enjoy.

“The proposed lands at Merlin Park are currently zoned recreational and amenity. Galway Hospice has lobbied the city planners and the city councillors to have the lands rezoned, but there is strong opposition to the plans from some local community and environmental groups. These groups consider the lands to be highly important in terms of biodiversity and conservation and they too have lobbied councillors and city officials to have the hospice’s request for rezoning refused. Galway Hospice has met these groups with the HSE and has committed to working with them to minimise the impact of the hospice development on the lands.”

The spokesperson outlines that on July 7 city councillors voted by 11 votes in favour and six votes against rezoning seven of the 14 acres for the development of a hospice on the site. Now that the revised City Development Plan has been published for public consultation, the councillors will vote again in November after considering submissions received from the public.

The hospice is appealing for the public’s help to ensure that the proposed rezoning is approved in the second vote. The public are invited to sign a petition confirming their support for this development. The petition can be signed at the reception desk at Galway Hospice. It is also available at www.my.uplift.ie/petitions/new-hospice-at-merlin-park-we-need-your-help

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