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Irish minister voices frustration at planning judicial reviews

Words: Roger Milne
Legal challenge / iStock-914921790

Irish housing housing minister Darragh O'Brien has voiced frustration at the excessive use of the judicial review system to overturn planning decisions.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, he warned that the system needed urgent attention

“The whole area of judicial review is something in the Programme for Government that there is a commitment to review and revise, and I think it needs to be revised drastically,” he said.

“It is strange to me that we would have instances of one planning authority taking another planning authority to court by way of judicial review, and I think it should only happen in very exceptional cases. 

“It is something that is difficult for people to understand. If you have experts of planning authorities that are all working for the state, then why would there be a conflict between them in relation to any decision?”

His comments came after the High Court overturned a fresh grant of permission by An Bord Pleanála for 500 new flats or additional co-living spaces in the heart of Dublin docklands, which was the result of a second successful legal challenge by the planning authority, Dublin City Council.

O'Brien said: “I cannot speak about individual cases. That decision and others and how that might impact on legislation would be a matter that would have to be reviewed by the department and government, which I expect it to be. 

“All planning legislation is under review regularly as to how we might improve it to get to the stage of seeing whether we can deliver homes efficiently at an affordable rate where we need them. That’s my priority as minister. And if planning needs to change to make sure that happens, well that is something I am very open to doing.”

Image credit | iStock