Date: 14th February 2019
Galway Hospice seeks legal advice regarding Judicial Review of An Bord Pleanala’s Decision on Merlin Park Site
Last week, An Bord Pleanala overturned Galway City Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the development of a new 36 bedded hospice on a site at Merlin Park. The Board of Directors at Galway Hospice have met with their advisors to review the decision and have decided to seek legal advice with a view to taking a judicial review of An Bord Pleanala’s decision.
Galway Hospice and their advisors have taken time to review the Inspectors report from the oral hearing which was held on 4th December 2018. The Inspector from An Bord Pleanala recommended that planning permission should be granted for the hospice project. The report dealt comprehensively with all of the issues raised by the objectors to the project and it did not up hold any of the objections. The Hospice Board cannot understand why An Bord Pleanala went against their own inspector’s decision.
The “Bord” rejected the planning permission on two grounds the first relating to the zoning of the site. Galway City Council had inserted a specific objective into the Galway City Development Plan 2017-2023 to facilitate the development of a hospice on the site. This is a method which the City Council have successfully used for numerous other projects in the city. The second reason for refusing the decision was on environmental grounds. The hospice believes that they comprehensively dealt with the impact on Annex 1 habitat as part of their planning application and we committed to protecting the remaining Annex 1 habitat on the site going forward.
Galway Hospice believes that the site at Merlin Park is an ideal location for the development of a new hospice as while it was on the hospital grounds it was situated away from the main hospital campus. The location would have allowed for ease in transferring vulnerable hospice patients who are receiving treatment and for other support services for the hospice including Xrays, scans, blood testing, analysis and pharmacy support services. The location has plenty of green space and provided the correct environment for people staying at or visiting a hospice which is extremely important and encourages well-being.
Speaking about the future of the new hospice for Galway, Chief Executive of the Galway Hospice Foundation, Mary Nash said “The hospice is experiencing a significant increase in demand for our services and a larger hospice is required. We are now seeking legal advice in relation to our plans for the new hospice so that we can continue to be there for the people of Galway and provide first class palliative care services and support to patients and their families when they need us”
Galway Hospice have been overwhelmed by the tremendous support they have received from the Galway community for over 30 years, and especially in the past week since the news of the decision was announced. Galway Hospice is a community organisation and we have already received a pledge of support from a supporter to assist with covering the costs of the appeal and are confident that others will also come forward to support us in funding this process.
Mary Nash, CEO Galway Hospice 091 770868