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HSE’s ‘abhorrent’ use of weedkiller near Merlin Woods


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

HSE’s ‘abhorrent’ use of weedkiller near Merlin Woods HSE’s ‘abhorrent’ use of weedkiller near Merlin Woods

The HSE has been criticised for using poisonous weedkiller on the grounds of Merlin Park Hospital – adjoining the biodiverse Merlin Woods.

At a meeting of the HSE West Regional Health Forum this week, Councillor Martina O’Connor (Green) said it was “outdated” and “unnecessary” to spray weedkiller to control nature. It was also contrary to national biodiversity policy, she said.

“Weed killer is being sprayed around flowerbeds, trees, and even potholes where wildlife and dogs drink from pools of water with poison,” she said.

Cllr O’Connor asked the HSE to update its land and forest management practices to be in line with national policy, and similar to the policy of Galway City Council managed lands adjacent at Merlin Woods.

She urged the HSE to stop using weedkiller in Merlin Park, as the public finds it “distressing and abhorrent”.

Cllr O’Connor said it was counterproductive to have two public bodies, with two different approaches to managing what was essentially the same green space jointly owned by HSE and Council.

Tony Canavan, Chief Executive Officer of Saolta University Healthcare Group said the HSE has hired a qualified arborist and a qualified ecologist to complete assessments of its land at Merlin Park, including land zoned recreational and amenity.

“These specialists will provide detailed reports with guidance and recommendations on the correct approaches to ongoing and seasonal landscaping and maintenance of the HSE lands,” he said.

Mr Canavan told said the HSE’s primary responsibility was the provision of healthcare although he confirmed the health authority has committed to liaising with the City Council about the proper management of recreational and amenity spaces at Merlin Park.

He confirmed the HSE will engage with the Council’s biodiversity officer to agree a clear programme and policy for management and maintenance of the land.

“This is very important given the serious ash die back disease in particular and the associated risks to walkers and users of these lands and liabilities to the HSE,” Mr Canavan added.

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