We may be getting distracted from the issue which began this thread - in essence, why isn't An T thriving, prosperous and generally respected. Here's two for openers:
(1) One-off housing.
This is a no brainer and An T should have won the argument ages ago. Of course much of this housing is for commuters and city folk wanting to exercise the 4x4s a few weekends a year, but much of it is also to accommodate daughters (sorry Equality Authority, 'struth) and second sons who would otherwise have to negotiate with the types that own the local village or town land bank.
Ideas to consider include requiring minimum numbers / clusters, properly serviced, to be built as well as requiring actual rather than pastiche architecture. An T could have been 'political' about this. They could have been and been seen to be the defender, the promoter, the facilitator of family accommodation on the homestead. Instead, all that is visible is negativity.
Even if you say "we're for sustainable development" most people don't know what you're talking about. If you say "we're for family farms and the accommodation for the extended family etc" you have won the hearts and cornered the arguments of the O Cuiv/Rae adherents.
(2) We know best.
Where An T really really gets up the noses of many in this forum is the perception that it knows better, always. Old = good, new = bad, us = good, you = bad.
You can do a truly fantastic job, you can agree with the neighbours, you can follow local and sympathetic idioms and use local materials, you may delight a lot of people (you can be a good architect?), but, no, it's not quite right. Because there's an An T opinion, it'll get listened to, not because it may have merit, but simply because it exists.
Heritage is being created all the time, and that fact is lost to An T. If it's any good, it'll be visually intrusive. The self-indulgent pursuit of alterations to plans, the relentless pursuit of the 'correct', the requirement that it has the last word on any significant development has had the curious result of rendering suspect any intervention of An T. A bit of active indifference would be welcome.
P.S. (1) I am not anybody else who has posted here (2) I observe that Diaspora is almost as much of an arriviste as myself.