AG counsels caution on architect registration

logo_riaiProposed legislation to amend the rules governing the registration of architects would place Ireland in breach of EU law, according to the Attorney General. Paul Gallagher SC gave his legal opinion to the government shortly after the Private Members Bill, proposed by former Ceann Comhairle John O’Donoghue, had received the support of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party. The Building Control (Amendment) Bill proposed to allow for a so-called ‘‘grandfathering’’ clause, aimed at allowing people with several years experience practicing as an architect – but without a formal college qualification – to be admitted to the official register of architects.

It was supported by a group called the Architects Alliance, which says it represents 170 businesses made up of ‘‘self-trained’’ and other workers in the architecture sector who argue that the existing registration process does not accommodate them. The bill was opposed by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI), which argued that, if the legislation were enacted, it ‘‘would cause a broad range of problems’’ in terms of compliance with EU law.

This view was endorsed by legal opinion conducted by Gerard Hogan for the RIAI last September, before Hogan was elevated to the position of High Court judge. A separate legal opinion by Anthony M Collins SC, conducted for the Architects Alliance, found that O’Donoghue’s bill did not contravene EU law.

The Sunday Business Post