Minister pledges clampdown on councils over bad planning decisions

The Minister responsible for overseeing planning permission in Ireland has insisted she will personally veto bad planning decisions.

Jan O’Sullivan says she has written to all local authorities saying she will exercise her legal powers to overturn any planning applications which councils approve, if they are not in keeping with their local development plans.

O’Sullivan said she had personally overturned three planning decisions in the last nine months – a significant increase on the rate of veto in recent years, when eight decisions were overturned in the previous ten years.

Those included a decision to block a development in south Clare which posed a threat to a wildlife habitat, and projects in Mountmellick and Midleton which proposed developments on land which was at risk of flooding.

The minister said she was required by law to ensure that development plans were observed in all planning decisions, and that her legal powers to overturn ensured “that these plans reflect national and regional planning policy”.

“However, on three occasions in the past nine months these observations have effectively been ignored, leaving me no option but to invoke my powers to direct a local authority to amend a plan to ensure it reflects best planning practice,” she said.