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24/04/2020

More time allowed for public participation in planning in Ireland

Words: Roger Milne

The Irish Government has agreed to a further extension for all public participation in the planning system for 19 additional days, up to and including 9 May 2020, as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

This decision means that the initial 23-day extension to public participation periods is now 42 days or six weeks.

This means that if an application was lodged before or on Friday 21 February 2020, the public participation phase is completed, and so a planning authority can make a decision within the extended deadline.

If an application was lodged after that date, but before 29 March 2020, the decision cannot be made until after 9 May 2020 to ensure that the public participation element has been completed.

Finally, if an application is lodged after 29 March 2020, it cannot be determined by the planning authority until after the expiration of the five-week period for public consultation, which now begins on 10 May 2020, so subject to the date on which an application is submitted, the earliest a decision could be made would be Monday, 15 June 2020.

The extended time will also apply to planning appeals, which An Bord Pleanála will continue to receive by post.

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government continues to recommend to planning authorities that public consultation and council meeting activity on all plans should be deferred until after the extension period, which will now end on 9 May 2020. 

Housing minister Eoghan Murphy said: “I am deeply appreciative of the efforts of the staff of planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála in keeping the planning system operating in the way that they have during these extraordinary times.  

“These latest measures will support the integrity of the decision-making process by ensuring that public participation in the process is not diminished by the current restrictions.” 

An updated Frequently Asked Questions document has been uploaded to the department’s website to reflect these and other changes in greater detail.

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