In mid-February, the Board of Directors at Galway Hospice took a decision to seek legal advice regarding a judicial review of An Bord Pleanala’s decision to refuse planning permission for the development of a new 36 bedded hospice on a site at Merlin Park. The Hospice Board and management team were shocked and devastated by An Bord’s decision.
Following extensive consultations with planning and legal advisors the Hospice Board have reluctantly taken the decision not to seek leave for a judicial review. This decision by the Hospice Board was not easily reached as Galway badly needs a new hospice. However, there are significant risks and costs associated with a judicial review with no guarantee of success.
It is with great reluctance and regret that the Hospice Board have taken this decision as they have spent years looking for a suitable site for the new hospice and still believe that the site at Merlin Park is the ideal location. They believe that the patients and families in Galway living with life limiting illnesses should take precedence over the environmental concerns raised by the objectors / to this urgently needed new hospice. The Hospice with the assistance of the HSE had made significant compromises on the design of the proposed new development to address the concerns raised by objectors both before and during the planning process and was committed to maintaining the Annex 1 habitat on the majority of the site. This would have secured the habitat and ensured that the Annex 1 hay meadow would have been available to both patients and their families and the local community to enjoy into the future. Unfortunately, An Bord Pleanala and the objectors to the new hospice did not accept the compromises made by the Hospice.
Galway Hospice regularly has a waiting list for its services and demand for the essential services it provides is expected to double over the next ten years. Therefore, it is essential that a new hospice is built as soon as possible so that the facility can cater for the people of Galway when they need it.
The Hospice will now review its options for a new location and will consult with planning officials, advisors and the local community before making a decision on the best way forward to deliver this much needed service.
Mary Nash CEO of Galway Hospice stated: “Galway Hospice wants to assure the public that the hospice is committed to building a new state of the art facility in Galway city that will meet both current and future demands for our services. Unfortunately, due to An Bord Pleanala’s decision plans are further delayed. Regrettably it is likely that during this period not everyone who needs inpatient services will benefit from the high quality care that the hospice provides.”