Cian O'Callaghan TD

An Bord Pleanála needs to be protected from political interference

Legislation being rushed through the Dáil this week has the potential to further erode public confidence in the planning system, according to Social Democrats Housing spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan.

“This regressive Bill seeks to concentrate power in the Minister’s hands when it comes to the appointment of members to An Bord Pleanála. It will effectively bring us back to the pre-1983 situation when Government Ministers were able to appoint members to the board. This practice was discontinued with very good reason as there had been political interference in the process.

“To restore public confidence in our planning system – and An Bord Pleanála in particular – it is crucial that the process is independent of politics. As proposed, the Bill gives extraordinary power and discretion to the Minister, which will not be subject to Oireachtas oversight.

“Ultimately, we need a robust planning system – one that produces cohesive, strong communities and allows them to thrive.

“This Bill fails to take into account the lessons learned from our recent history of corruption in the planning process by some of those involved in politics. It is simply unacceptable to have politicians appointing members to An Bord Pleanála, which has a quasi-judicial role and should be completely independent.”

December 13, 2022

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