Planning Bill ‘a betrayal of key Mahon Tribunal Recommendation’ – Ó Broin
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Planning Eoin Ó Broin TD has criticised the government for “betraying the planning recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal” by failing to establish an independent planning regulator with real teeth.
Deputy Ó Broin said
“The Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2016, which began report stage in the Dáil last night, has failed to legislate for a key recommendation of the Mahon Tribunal report into planning corruption. Mahon proposed the creation of an independent planning regulator with real teeth. Minister Coveney’s Bill seeks to create a toothless tiger whose only function will be to advise.
“The Mahon Tribunal concluded that too much power was centralised in the office of the Minister, that his Department did not have adequate checks and balances, and that the Minister’s power to provide direction Local Planning Authorities should be handed over to an independent Planning Regulator.
“The Government has completely ignored this and has instead, with this Bill, created a planning advisory body, with limited powers and no power to independently adjudicate on important planning decisions.
“We are still living with the legacy of bad planning and the Mahon Tribunal report references the corrupt planning decisions that were made in relation to Quarryvale and Clonburris in my own constituency. The local community is still feeling the negative impacts of these poor decisions.
“If this Bill is enacted, we will be left with a regulator that has no independent power to intervene in order to correct planning failures or planning corruption. This is a complete betrayal of the letter and spirit of Mahon.
“Importantly Fianna Fáil deputies have remained silent on this issue and voted down opposition amendments aimed at giving the regulator real teeth. The public will draw their own conclusions from this.
“There is no way the Government can stand over this legislation as it stands. It is not true to the intentions of the Mahon Tribunal recommendations. I am urging the Government to reconsider its decision to continue the over-centralisation of power with the Minister and to amend the Bill at Seanad stage to create a truly independent office of a planning regulator.”