Objectors question motivation for hospice site selection

The proposed site for the new hospice at Merlin Woods.

Galway City Tribune – The motivation behind Galway Hospice Foundation’s decision to build on the meadows at Merlin Park was called into question at a Bord Pleanála hearing this week.

Objectors claimed that a number of alternative, less controversial sites were available for the Hospice, within the grounds of Merlin Park University Hospital, but had been rejected due to concerns about “image and branding”.

These claims were levelled by appellant Peter Butler, on behalf of An Taisce Galway, who said the organisation had obtained email exchanges from HSE officials revealing apprehension from the Hospice over alternative sites in the grounds of Merlin Park.

“The recorded impression was that Galway Hospice Foundation was ‘not seriously considering [a site within Merlin Park University Hospital], as the principle over-riding impediment to that location was that the HSE could not offer them a site that would be sufficiently separate from the campus to give them a separate independent branding and identity’,” said Mr Butler.

CEO of the Hospice Foundation, Mary Nash, told Planning Inspector Karen Hamilton that while other sites had been suggested, the site for which they sought planning permission was the only one available and suitable.
This is a preview only. For extensive coverage of this week’s oral hearing, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.