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Minister pledges clampdown on councils over bad planning decisions

Jan O’Sullivan says she will invoke ministerial powers to veto any planning decision which doesn’t conform to policy.

Jan O'Sullivan has the legal power to veto a planning approval if it does not conform to a council's development plan.
Jan O'Sullivan has the legal power to veto a planning approval if it does not conform to a council's development plan.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Updated, 12:22

THE JUNIOR MINISTER responsible for overseeing planning permission in Ireland has insisted she will personally veto bad planning policy decisions.

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

O’Sullivan said she had personally overturned three policy changes 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 rezoning of a wildlife habitat in Co Clare, and proposals in Mountmellick and Midleton which affected lands 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.

Read: New regulator ‘will restore confidence in planning system’

More: An Taisce: Council ‘wasted €40m’ by ignoring development plan

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Gavan Reilly

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