Planning regulator needs real teeth – Ó Broin
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has expressed his disappointment that the Planning Bill that passed committee stage today establishes a “toothless” planning regulator.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“The purpose of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2016 is to legislate for a key recommendation of the Mahon Tribunal report into planning corruption, an independent planning regulator.
“We welcome that the Government is finally making moves towards establishing an office of a planning regulator. However, this office needs to be truly independent in nature and needs to have real powers in order to effective. Unfortunately, the Bill before us today establishes little more than an advisory body which makes recommendations to the Minister.
“Thousands of people across this State are living with the consequences of decades of bad, corrupt, and negligent planning decisions. In an effort to make sure corruption on the scale witnessed in the past doesn’t happen again, the Mahon Tribunal recommended that ‘the Minister’s…ability to give directions to Regional Authorities and Local Planning Authorities should be entrusted to a Planning Regulator’.
“The office of the independent planning regulator must have the power to conduct investigations into allegations of planning corruption, impropriety or negligence and then make findings of fact which can used by the relevant authorities to prosecute breaches of the law.
“Unfortunately, Minister Simon Coveney’s intention appears to be to create another toothless tiger, in line with this Government’s approach to other independent bodies. Sinn Féin will again seek to amend this Bill at report stage so it will fully reflect this important Mahon Tribunal recommendation.”