Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams TD has called on the Taoiseach to clarify whether he believes there are conflict of interest issues involving An Bord Pleanala.
Mr Adams also today reiterated his call for the Government to initiate a process whereby potential nominees for the position of EU Commissioner would face Dáil scrutiny.
Gerry Adams said;
“There are major allegations of planning irregularities in various parts of the State which Minister Phil Hogan is fully aware of, but which he has not dealt with.”
He asked the Taoiseach to clarify his reference yesterday to positions on state boards having to be publicly advertised and asked whether he was aware that the position of Deputy Chairperson of An Bord Pleanala was not advertised.
He queried if the Taoiseach believed that a situation where the Deputy Chairperson of An Bord Pleanála, was overseeing planning applications drawn up by his former employers, represented a conflict of interest.
Speaking later Gerry Adams said:
“The Mahon Tribunal unveiled the reality of a decade of planning corruption. But the Mahon Tribunal findings have not been implemented by this government.
“The Fine Gael/Labour Government cannot portray planning corruption as a Fianna Fáil problem when it does not act to root it out.
“Instead of doing this, the Minister for the Environment has acted to close down scrutiny of the planning process. One of his first acts as Minister was to shut down an inquiry initiated by his predecessor Mr Gormley, into alleged planning irregularities in seven local authority areas.
“An internal review by the Department of the Environment, which was presented as an alternative to the Gormley review, claimed that there was no evidence of wrongdoing in planning.
“Gerard Convie, a senior planner in Donegal provided evidence of planning irregularities and went to the High Court which quashed the review’s section on Donegal. The Department was forced to apologize to Mr Convie. The internal review was discredited and had to be set aside.
“Following this, the Minister of State with responsibility for planning, Jan O’Sullivan announced an independent assessment of planning procedures and practices in the six other local authorities. Over a year later we have still not seen the report of this review.”
For the second day in a row, Mr Adams asked the Taoiseach if the Government would initiate a process whereby potential nominees for the position of EU Commissioner would face Dáil scrutiny. The Taoiseach refused to give a satisfactory answer.