An Bord Pleanála must respond to conflict-of-interest concerns - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eóin Ó Broin TD has called on An Bord Pleanála (ABP) to respond to the conflict-of-interest revelations that have emerged in the media in recent weeks, stating, “public confidence in the Bord is already low and failure to adequately respond will make the situation worse.”
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“Over the past couple of weeks, a number of revelations in the media has raised genuine conflict of interest concerns in relation to An Bord Pleanála.
“Public confidence in the Bord is already at such a low ebb that these revelations, plus the Bord’s failure to adequately respond to them, further damages the reputation of An Bord Pleanála.
“Members of ABP must comply with the relevant standards set out in legislation and in their own code of conduct. This is very clear.
“Each member of the board must ensure his or her compliance with the relevant provisions of the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 and the Standards in Public Office Act 2001.”
From section 15.7 of the ABP code of conduct:
“A Board member or employee shall not deal with or participate in the decision making process in any case where he/she considers such involvement could give rise to an appearance of objective bias.”
“ABP has suffered reputational damage due to decisions it has made on controversial Strategic Housing Development’s. To date, ABP has failed to adequately respond to the conflict-of-interest concerns raised, which only further damages its standing in the eyes of the public.
“My colleague Thomas Gould has written directly to ABP seeking a robust response and some clarity on these issues. I have written to the Minister for Housing Darragh O’ Brien and my colleague Mairead Farrell will raise the issue in the Public Accounts Committee.
“The public must have faith in the planning system. ABP must follow its own rules and ensure that its board members are compliant with the relevant provisions in the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 and the Standards in Public Office Act 2001.
“ABP must now provide a full and comprehensive response to the conflict of interest issues in public domain.
“We also need to urgently hear from Minister O'Brien on the matter.”