An Bord Pleanála should be scrapped, Minister says

It comes after the Minister for Housing referred the findings of an independent report to gardaí and the DPP
An Bord Pleanála should be scrapped, Minister says

Vivienne Clarke

An Bord Pleanála should be scrapped and replaced with a new “fit-for-purpose, modern organisation” that can make decisions quickly, a Government Minister has said.

Minister of State Niall Collins said the fundamental problem with the planning authority was that it was not required to decide on any application by a defined date.

The Limerick Fianna Fáil TD said the authority constantly missed deadlines and as a result was a barrier to progress and development.

"[An Bord Pleanála] has the option and the ability to keep pushing out the due deadline date by which it must make an adjudication on an appeal or planning application. That’s causing huge delays on the ground," he told RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne.

"Somebody might have a small issue in relation to an extension for a house or a planning application for a small number of houses – you know, people who are seeking to provide housing in this country – and it is delay, delay, delay.

"There is a fundamental problem with how it operates, and I think, given all that we know that is in the public domain in relation to the other shortcomings in An Bord Pleanála that are going through various processes at the moment, I think we need to have the organisation scrapped and replaced with a fit-for-purpose, modern organisation to fit the needs of our society."

His comments come after Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said appointments to An Bord Pleanála will be “effectively” halted after he referred the findings of an independent report to gardaí and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Paul Hyde, An Bord Pleanala’s deputy chairman, the second most senior official in the planning appeals body, resigned earlier this year after becoming the subject of several probes into allegations of conflicts of interest in decisions he was involved in.

He had denied improper conduct but had stood aside from his role “without prejudice” in May pending the outcome of the investigation commissioned by the Minister for Housing. In July, Mr Hyde quit his role as deputy chair.

Mr Collins said that recent revelations and the report had shaken public confidence.

"They [An Bord Pleanála] are not time-bound in relation to any of these key, critical decisions and that is something that I would like to see.

"A major reform of An Bord Pleanála in terms of how they go about their day-to-day work would be putting a time limit on when they have to make a decision on an appeal or planning application before them."

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more