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Government accused of 'arrogance' over cancelled planning inquiries

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the investigations into six councils had been “ready to go” when they were halted by Phil Hogan.

Minister Phil Hogan halted planning inquiries, Eamon Ryan said
Minister Phil Hogan halted planning inquiries, Eamon Ryan said
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE FINE GAEL and Labour coalition has been accused of “arrogance” over its cancellation of inquiries into planning problems at six local authorities after the new government entered office last year.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the inquiries set up by former environment minister John Gormley had been ready to begin when they were halted by Gormley’s successor Phil Hogan.

“They sat on it and they’ve done nothing,” he said, adding:

One of their first actions in government was to put this block on a process that was already ready to go. The consultants had already gone through a tendering process.

Ryan told Newstalk Breakfast: “I think there’s a certain arrogance in the new government. I think there’s an indifference” to reform.

He suggested that the lack of action may have been due to “a natural tendency to say let’s not rock the boat,” because Fine Gael and Labour currently control many councils across the country.

The investigations were due to probe alleged irregularities at Carlow, Galway, Cork and Meath county councils as well as Dublin and Cork city councils.

The Mahon Tribunal found last week that regional authorities were insufficiently accountable. It recommended that constant oversight was necessary to prevent further corruption in the future.

Ryan said the inquiries set up by Gormley would have been “very short, very sharp and very cheap” compared to the tribunal process.

More: Full coverage of the Mahon Tribunal fallout on TheJournal.ie>

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Michael Freeman

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