Cian O'Callaghan TD

We do not know if Mr Hyde had sight of a draft copy of the Farrell review before he tendered his resignation

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien must make a statement to the Dáil outlining a clear timeline for the publication of the Farrell review into An Bord Pleanála, according to Social Democrats Housing Spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan.

“The deputy chair of An Bord Pleanála, Paul Hyde, resigned late on Friday – in advance of the publication of a review by senior counsel Remy Farrell into a number of his planning decisions.

“That report had been due to be completed on June 23, but was extended at the request of Mr Farrell for five weeks. According to the Minister, the original terms of reference of the review have been extended, to include additional allegations that came to light following its commencement, but we do not know what the full list of those allegations is.

‘For example, it is unclear if Mr Farrell is reviewing whether files in a series of Strategic Housing Development applications were automatically assigned to Mr Hyde and another member of the Bord, rather than being assigned randomly as they should be.

“It is not acceptable that we do have confirmation of the full list of planning decisions that are currently under investigation or whether Mr Hyde had sight of a draft copy of the review before he tendered his resignation. It is also unclear if Mr Hyde offered a reason for his resignation when he submitted it.

“An Bord Pleanála has immense power in our planning system and a cloud of suspicion has hung over it since these allegations first came to light. To restore public confidence in the Bord, it is imperative that the review is as open and transparent as possible.

“We also know that separate reviews, by the Planning Regulator and An Bord Planeála itself, are also underway. Again, we have no information about the progress of these reviews or when we are likely to see final reports. This is not good enough.

“The Dáil will go into recess for the summer on Thursday, July 14th. In advance of that, the Minister must confirm the updated terms of reference of the Farrell review, its progress and its likely publication date. He should also provide the Dáil with similar information regarding the other reviews into An Bord Pleanála.”

11 July, 2022


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