Cian O'Callaghan TD

Under-resourcing of planning appeals board is hampering the delivery of new homes

Ireland’s planning system must be properly resourced to speed up the delivery of badly needed homes, according to Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan.

Deputy O’Callaghan, who is the party’s Housing spokesperson, said:

“In the midst of our worst-ever housing crisis, it is difficult to understand the continued under-resourcing of An Bord Pleanála by the Government, which has led to serious staff shortages.

“At an Oireachtas Housing Committee meeting last month, Oonagh Buckley, the interim chairwoman of An Bord Pleanála, said they need a workforce in the region of 300 – about 90 more than the current level.

“The failure to scale-up staffing levels over the years has created planning logjams, resulting in unacceptable delays in the delivery of new homes.

“It is clear that An Bord Pleanála is struggling to deal with a significant backlog of cases. Last week, it was reported that a decision is overdue on 1,356 of the 2,197 applications submitted by the end of January of this year, representing 62 percent of these cases.

“Even though planning applications are supposed to be dealt with within 18 weeks, hundreds of cases have been waiting more than a year for a decision due to the backlog. This gives an indication of the scale of the workload faced by the board.

“The proposed reform and rebranding of An Bord Pleanála will be meaningless if the agency continues to be starved of adequate resources by the Government.”

March 27, 2023

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