A bord pleanála must change the way the board is appointed, Taoiseach stresses

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the procedure for appointing board members of An Bord Pleanála (ABP) needs to be changed in light of the recent controversy surrounding the planning authority.

In his strongest comments yet, Mr Martin said he was concerned about the possible outcome of an independent inquiry into the decisions of former ABP Vice-Chairman Paul Hyde.

It is understood that the government will consider a public appointment process for ABP rather than the current board system.

A senior government source said the process of appointing board members could move into the Public Appointments Service.

At a media briefing in Japan, the Taoiseach said, “I am concerned about this and an investigation is ongoing.

“In my view, the recruitment process at An Bord Pleanála needs to change at this level. I think the Secretary will come up with ideas on this but we are awaiting the outcome of the Remy Farrell review.”

Mr Farrell is conducting a review of a range of research collected by the website ontheditch.com into Mr Hyde’s decisions on planning proposals.

The review addresses allegations that Mr Hyde was involved in a number of conflicts of interest, including voting against a housing development that relied on land he owned.

Questions have also been raised about how Mr Hyde was appointed An Bord Pleanála, as the nominating body that proposed his name, the Irish Rural Dwellers Association (IRDA), was no longer active at the time of his appointment.

Mr Hyde was appointed to the board by then Environment Secretary Phil Hogan.

Mr Martin said ABP has a duty to be fully transparent.

Mr Hyde has denied he acted improperly. He initially agreed to resign pending the conclusion of Mr Farrell’s investigation, but later resigned from ABP.

The government is awaiting the outcome of the investigation. The review focuses on three planning decisions relating to a proposed strategic housing development in the Distillery Quarter, North City Link Road, Blackpool, Co Cork; a proposed development at Gilford Park, Sandymount, Dublin; and a proposed development at Castlelake, Terrysland, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/an-bord-pleanala-must-change-how-board-is-appointed-insists-taoiseach-41864172.html A bord pleanála must change the way the board is appointed, Taoiseach stresses

Fry Electronics Team

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