Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said that Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has serious questions to answer in relation to planning allegations and that unless these matters were clarified, it would be inappropriate for him to be nominated to the position of EU Commissioner.
Speaking in the Dáil today Gerry Adams TD said:
“Recently, in what has become a feature of your Government, Minister Hogan brazenly appointed seven former Fine Gael and Labour Councillors to state boards. But the Minister is also mired in controversy when it comes to the planning process.
“Minister Hogan appointed as Deputy Chairperson of An Bórd Pleanála, an individual who is the former Technical Director with RPS Consulting Engineers, which framed a series of controversial projects that have come before An Bord Pleanála. He also extended his term of office.
“This individual voted to approve contentious projects, on which RPS were the consultants, which had been rejected by An Bord Pleanála inspectors. These include an apartment development in Dun Laoghaire and a sewage treatment scheme in Donegal. He also recently approved a controversial wind farm at Cullenagh in County Laois.
“This raises obvious questions of a conflict of interest.
“RPS Consultants also advised Eirgrid to install overhead pylons. RPS was also among the consultants employed at a cost of some €85 million by Uisce Éireann, where two former senior executives of RPS now hold senior positions.”
Mr Adams said that unless these matters were clarified, it would be inappropriate for the Taoiseach to nominate Minister Hogan for the position of EU Commissioner.
The Sinn Féin Leadersaidthere were serious questions that would overshadow any nomination of Minister Hogan as EU Commissioner unless they were dealt with.
“Minister Hogan closed down the Inquiry initiated by his predecessor John Gormley into planning irregularities and alleged planning corruption in seven local council areas.
“There is an issue concerning Donegal, where serious allegations have been raised by a senior planner; and in Wicklow, where the Minister has been made aware of extremely serious allegations regarding planning irregularities, including the highly controversial M11 rezoning decision.
“Minister Phil Hogan has been at the centre of a series of controversies over his mishandling of a range of issues from Irish Water to the Poolbeg incinerator.”
Gerry Adams said Ireland's nominee for the position of EU Commissioner would face serious scrutiny at EU level around their suitability but that there should also be scrutiny of the suitability of such a nominee by the Dáil?
He urged the Taoiseach to facilitate such a process so that any nominee can answer questions about their suitability before they were sent to Europe.