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An Bord Pleanála

Planning regulator launches further review of An Bord Pleanála following controversy

The review will be carried out by senior counsel Conleth Bradley.

A FURTHER REVIEW of An Bord Pleanála has been initiated by the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR), following the controversy over alleged conflicts of interest within the board.

The OPR review is set to examine both systems and procedures that are used by An Bord Pleanála (ABP) in its work as the top planning authority.

The review is set to be split into two seperate sections, with one part set to be completed by 3 October while the second part is to be completed by 30 November.

The first section will be led by senior counsel Conleth Bradley, who will be assisted by the former head of the Scottish Government’s legal directorate Paul Cackette and by the former Chief Planner to the Scottish Government, John McNairney.

The second section will be carried out by Cackette and McNairney.

This latest review follows Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien referring a report over alleged conflicts of interest at ABP to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) last week.

That report had been carried out by senior counsel Remy Farrell and was sent to the DPP on the basis of advice that had been provided by Attorney General Paul Gallagher.

The terms of reference of the OPR review state that it will “examine the robustness and effectiveness” of decision making practices and governance arrangements within ABP.

In particular, it will focus on the current procedures within ABP around reporting and monitoring potential conflicts of interest in decision making at the board, as well as how case files are allocated to board members.

The review will also examine what measures are required to help restore public confidence in ABP “without delay”.

Drafts of both sections of the review will be sent to O’Brien and ABP ahead of their completion dates to allow for submissions to be made.

Once completed, the reports are set to be published by the OPR.

“The OPR has engaged with An Bord Pleanála officials, who will put in place appropriate arrangements at strategic operational and high management levels to support the timely production of both parts of the review in line with the stated timetable,” said a spokesperson for the regulator.

The new review comes over a month after the former deputy chair of An Bord Pleanála, Paul Hyde, resigned from his role.

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