Speaking on the Planning and Development Bill which was meant to make law the recommendations of the Mahon tribunal, Sinn Féin Deputy Dessie Ellis outlined that one of its key recommendations the establishment of an independent office of a planning regulator is not being fully address in this Bill.
The Dublin North West TD said:
“The Mahon Tribunal found out that big business and those who held high political office conspired to corrupt the planning process; that these individuals used their positions of influence within some political parties to line their own pockets with corrupt payments by corrupt developers at the expense of the very communities and citizens they were elected to represent. The effect is that some estates are living in floodplains as a result of land rezoning decisions made by local councillors at the behest of landowners or property speculators.
“While sizeable populations in this city have to get into their cars to travel to a shopping centre because the one that was planned nearer wasn’t built or those nearer to established communities weren’t facilitated, against planning advice. There was over zoning of lands, a lot of it in the wrong place and absolutely no consideration to any long-term strategy or supported by the required services. There are people dealing with these decisions every day of their lives to this day.
“Minister Simon Coveney can overrule the regulator; what’s the point of it so? It doesn’t go far enough. If the proposed office of planning regulator does not have teeth or real powers, it will not be effective. And we are potentially back to those days where the corrupt and the financially astute decided how we lived in our country.”