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We need answers about how much this mess is likely to cost taxpayers 

The chaos engulfing An Bord Pleanála is costing the State dearly as fees for delays and legal challenges soar, according to Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy.

“Today, the Irish Independent reported An Bord Pleanála (ABP) has paid out more than €1 million to developers because of a backlog in processing applications for Strategic Housing Developments.

“Meanwhile, this week we also learned that planning permissions for more than 1,700 housing units have been quashed after ABP conceded High Court legal challenges to these developments.

“That decision was made after allegations of objective bias were raised in respect of ABP’s decision-making process – and ABP will be on the hook for all of the legal costs arising from those challenges.

“In the Dáil yesterday, I asked Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath how many planning permissions were going to be quashed as a result of this scandal and what were the cost implications for ABP – and therefore, the State.

“Bizarrely, the Minister said he was unable to provide that information – despite the fact that ABP has opted not to defend certain High Court cases, so that information should be readily available.

“Clearly, the fall-out from the controversy engulfing ABP is continuing to wreak havoc in the planning system – and is having major cost implications for the State. We need answers about how much this mess is likely to cost taxpayers.

“At a minimum, ABP should be transparent about the number of SHD applications that are pending and likely to incur hefty fines because of delayed decision making. We also need clarity about the timeline for the rollout of urgent reforms.

“Ultimately, the government need to consider whether those in leadership positions in ABP, who have overseen this shambles, are up to the task of instituting the kind of root-and-branch reform that is required.”

13 October, 2022


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