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An Bord Pleanála

Housing Minister receives report into alleged conflicts of interest at An Bord Pleanála

It comes just weeks after Deputy Chair of An Bord Pleanála, Paul Hyde, resigned.

THE HOUSING MINISTER has received the report on allegations of conflicts of interest by the former Deputy Chair of An Bord Pleanála, Paul Hyde.

The report itself was authored by senior counsel Remy Farrell, and was delivered to Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien earlier today.

In a statement this evening, O’Brien thanked Farrell for his work on the report, as well as barrister Chris Mills who assisted Farrell.

O’Brien said that he would be considering the recommendations of the report and that he had provided a copy of the report to the Attorney General for review.

O’Brien added that he would not me making any further comments while he considers the report.

The completion of the report comes several weeks after the resignation of Hyde, who stepped down on 9 July while the probe was still ongoing.

Hyde had previously stepped back from the role after the investigation began and had denied all allegations made against him.

Within the terms of reference of the report, Farrell was to give his opinion on three separate planning decisions, including a decision by An Bord Pleanála (ABP) in relation to a housing development in Blackpool, Co Cork.

At the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee earlier this month, Chairperson of ABP Dave Walsh said that he has commissioned a team of senior managers to examine any issues arising, “with a view to identifying areas which may require improvements in relation to the suitability and effectiveness of existing controls, procedures and systems designed to manage potential conflicts of interest and related matters”.

“I will take whatever actions and reforms may be necessary and appropriate to
strengthen our systems and procedures to ensure that they are as legally robust and
fit for purpose as possible and practicable and with a view also to maintaining public confidence in the impartiality of the Board’s decision-making processes,” Walsh said

“I will also take account of any outcomes and proposed recommendations from the ongoing review being undertaken on behalf of the Minister, and the targeted review of the Board’s systems and procedures proposed to be undertaken by the Office of the Planning Regulator later this year,” Walsh added.

Additional reporting by Christina Finn.

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