Cork City Councillors say they’ve no confidence in An Bord Pleanála

A motion of no confidence tabled by Green Party councillors Oliver Moran and Colette Finn and An Rabharta Glas councillor Lorna Bogue was agreed by councillors at a meeting this week.
Cork City Councillors say they’ve no confidence in An Bord Pleanála

CORK city councillors have expressed no confidence in the board of An Bord Pleanála, citing concerns that recent revelations about some senior board members have created a “quagmire” of uncertainty in terms of planning decisions.Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Dublin

CORK city councillors have expressed no confidence in the board of An Bord Pleanála, citing concerns that recent revelations about some senior board members have created a “quagmire” of uncertainty in terms of planning decisions.

A motion of no confidence tabled by Green Party councillors Oliver Moran and Colette Finn and An Rabharta Glas councillor Lorna Bogue was agreed by councillors at a meeting this week.

The motion proposed that Cork City Council would reaffirm its motion of no confidence in the board of An Bord Pleanála passed by the council in July 2020 and that the message would be forwarded to the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, the Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning, Peter Burke, and to all other local authorities across the country.

Speaking at the meeting, councillor Oliver Moran said the previous motion of no confidence was moved then by Independent councillor Paudie Dineen in relation to a development that the board allowed, contrary to the city’s own development plan, building on land zoned for sporting use.

In the last month, Mr Moran said there have been “further examples of irregular behaviour” by some members of An Bord Pleanála highlighted in the courts.

“We’ve learned that a board member of An Bord Pleanála did not recuse himself from deliberation of a proposal in the Blackpool area, despite having a financial interest in a neighbouring site — and the board conceding a court challenge claiming ‘objective bias’ by it in relation to this proposal.”

Mr Moran said he believed it important to create a distinction between the staff of An Bord Pleanála and the board.

He pointed to pieces in recent weeks published by the Irish Examiner investigating the manner of nomination and the operation of the board.

He also noted that in the last month the High Court has published its ruling in relation to the proposal to build an incinerator at Ringaskiddy, reading out the High Court declaration which references work by Mr Moran’s party colleague, Dr Gordon Reid — and how An Board Pleanála treated the presentation of irregularities in environmental data in that case.

The High Court found that the board failed to comply with the Planning and Development Act and that “the decision of the board ... was irrational and/or acted contrary to common sense”.

An Bord Pleanála was contacted for comment.

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