Galway’s Merlin Woods should be accorded greater environmental protection by being part of a Special Area of Conservation.
Galway City Council candidate Claire Hillery has sad the city council should accord more protection for Merlin Woods by including it in the Galway Bay SAC.
She said that with Ireland recently declaring a climate and biodiversity emergency, there is a need for local action to meet national aspirations.
“We cannot afford to lose such a beautiful, natural area that gives so much to our physical and mental wellbeing, both young and old.”
For people recovering in hospital, the “restorative sights, sounds, and smells of nature” from the woods are highly beneficial Claire added.
“By protecting this green and special place we can ensure that vital hospital development in the grounds of the Merlin Hospital can continue, while working in harmony with nature.”
Claire Hillery is standing for the Green Party in the city’s east ward.
Mrs Hillery praised the local environmental group the Friends of Merlin Woods whom she has worked with for “clearing litter and working to spread biodiversity in the park”.
She said that protection for South Meadows and Merlin Woods should be given protection in light of a decision by An Bord Pleanála to protect the area from “harmful development”.
In February of this year An Bord Pleanála overturned planning permission for the new Galway Hospice on the grounds of Merlin Park Hospital as it could harm habitats in Merlin Woods.
The local elections for Galway City and County councils will take place on Friday, May 24.