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Varadkar’s US comments highlight abuse of planning system - Carthy

16 March, 2018 - by Matt Carthy MEP


Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has strongly criticised an admission by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that he intervened in a planning dispute on behalf of US billionaire and current US President, Donald Trump.

Carthy said the revelation highlighted the ongoing abuse and dysfunction of the Irish planning system and will add to the alienation of local communities who feel powerless in the face of planning decisions that adversely them.

Carthy said: 

“The admission by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, during his visit to the United States, that he intervened in a planning dispute in Co. Clare on behalf of US billionaire and current US President, Donald Trump will further alienate communities across Ireland who feel powerless in the face of planning decisions that adversely them.

“This revelation highlights the ongoing abuse and dysfunction of the planning system and underlines the feeling in many communities that major planning decisions are ultimately the result of the influence of powerful insiders to the detriment of ordinary citizens.

“I am thinking for instance of communities such as those affected by the North-South Interconnector project. As currently planned, this lacks the necessary public acceptance to proceed but communities have been ignored in the planning process. EirGrid and SONI, have failed to engage in any meaningful way with affected communities.

“Rural communities affected by an over-ground, high-voltage Interconnector are deeply concerned at the impact current plans will have on local tourism and agriculture. There are also deeply held concerns regarding the public health impact. But none of these concerns have been taken on board.

“The fact that powerful, vested interests and insiders can influence major planning decisions in this country while local communities cannot, is a shameful injustice which the Taoiseach’s latest comments have merely highlighted once again.”

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