Reply To: Senator McSharry – defender of democratic purity
Rory W, I don’t know what to say to you, except you are very naieve if you think this is the case. You are referring to a pre-celtic tiger period about which there is no comparison with the present day level and quality of development.
Just look around you. The suburban housing estates tacked onto almost every town and village in the country (esp. in leinster) and the 18,000 one off houses built every year clearly show that development in Ireland is led by the individual (who has lobbied their politician like crazy) and is not planning or community-led.
Did you know, for example, that in some local authorities up to 25% of councillors are auctioneers or estate agents who have (or their clients have) an interest in lots of different issues within their decision-making power? Section 147 of the Plan. & Dev. Act 2000 requires a declaration of interests by local councillors and by management and planning staff – there is serious non-compliance with this requirement. (The Irish Planning Institute have raised concerns about this issue)
Last year, a small group of Mayo and Galway people who were linked to a developer, Thistlewood Holdings, joined An Taisce with the intention of electing themselves onto An T’s national council – basically they wanted to try’n subvert the objectives of An Taisce. The developer’s website claimed its speciality was “sites where planning permission is no longer possible, lakeshore locations and dwellings suitable for long-distance commuting” The sheer arrogance of this group!! and it was An Taisce who received the bad press for refusing them membership!!!
Kerry is the most extreme example planning farce in Ireland, where massive-scale lobbying of councillors for section 140 motions so that 5-bed. dormer-georgian bungalows could be built in areas of ‘outstanding natural beauty’ meant that planning collapsed earlier this year. What a country!