Dick Roche Bins the Critical Infrastructure Bill

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    • #707528

      Govt denies doing U-turn on projects bill

      10 December 2004 17:01

      The Government has denied it has done a U-turn following a decision to withdraw from Cabinet a bill which was designed to ‘fast-track’ motorways, incinerators and other major public projects.

      The Critical Infrastructure Bill is being withdrawn by the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche.

      At the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in October 2003, the then Environment Minister, Martin Cullen, and the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, said the bill was the way to overcome planning delays for projects of national importance.

      The proposed bill was since brought to Cabinet three times, but now a decision has been made that the bill will not be going ahead.

      Minister Roche says he needs to be convinced that it is the right way to proceed, adding that An Bord Pleanála and the Environmental Protection Agency are doing a superb job.

      Two incinerators, one in Meath and the other in Cork, have already been given planning permission. Groups continue to campaign against them and others that are being built.

    • #748902

      It is hard not to welcome this move as it allows the elected representatives development plans to be implemented as democratically written and not over-ridden on the whim of one person.

      I do not really feel that this represents a u-turn but more a move back to the centre from the extreme stance taken by the previous minister who would have rammed infrastructural projects through the same way he was right on e-voting.

    • #748903

      As opposed to being overridden by the whim of a group (ie the councillors themselves – see other threads on poor rural planning).

      I cant help but laugh at the reasons behind dropping this scheme. It just highlights the complete disfunctionality of government in Ireland. The plan came into opposition from some Ministers concerned at the inclusion of incinerators. So rather than amend the plans to omit incinerators and other controversial elements and procede with a bill that would facilitate transport only and could be amneded at a later date to include new elements, they drop the whole project! Hilariously the Irish Times suggested they were doing this because there is a general election on the horizon (two and half years from now). In that case let us expect nothing vaguely related to policy or decision making until the after that…. at which point another election will be on the horizon (5 years). Welcome ot the Banana Republic.

    • #748904

      Can’t help but think it was just a stick to beat ABP with.Now it has done that job and the bord are kow-towed there is no reason for it to exist.

    • #748905

      Ring breaks ranks over ‘dangerous’ planning Bill
      Friday, 16th June, 2006

      Fine Gael TD Michael Ring broke ranks with his party to vote against a Bill to fast-track major infrastructure projects through the Dáil. The Mayo deputy described it as the “most dangerous legislation” ever to come before the House.

      Minister for the Environment Dick Roche said, however, that the legislation was about streamlining the system to provide people with basic infrastructure they had demanded for years. “We should be honest enough in our political debates to accept that there has been a great deal of unnecessary delay in the delivery of key infrastructure in this country over the years.”

      Some 70 TDs spoke in the Dáil on the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Bill, which passed second stage by 63 votes to 29. Labour, the Green Party, Sinn Féin, some Independent deputies and the Socialist party opposed. Fine Gael supported the Government. The legislation, which creates a new division within An Bord Pleanála to deal specifically with major infrastructure projects, now goes to committee for debate.

      Mr Ring, who has fallen out with his party leadership on previous occasions, said the Bill showed the State was becoming a dictatorship. “This is the most dangerous legislation that has ever come before the House because it seeks to deprive people of the power to make observations and objections in regard to planning matters. We are told its provisions relate only to critical infrastructure but we can be certain it will only be critical for developers.

      “Evidence from successive tribunals indicates who this Bill will ultimately benefit. In time, another Minister will introduce additional legislation that will further expand the provisions of this Bill to ensure developers are making enough money and paying enough of it to politicians. “Developers may eventually be given such extensive powers that they will no longer require planning permission for building projects.”

      Jimmy Deenihan (FG, Kerry North), who said Fine Gael supported the principle of the Bill, expressed concern that local councillors would be seen as redundant because An Bord Pleanála’s new planning division would decide on incinerators and landfill instead of local authorities. “If local people cannot have an input into the planning process, they will see their local councillors as being irrelevant.”

      Apart from making a submission to the new division, a local council would have little input into the final decision, he said.

      Mr Roche insisted, however, that the Bill did not threaten local democracy and it gave a very specific role to councillors. “The abuse of the planning system means that people are gridlocked on the roads and are waiting for basic infrastructure. We should not lose sight of that.

      “My constituents in Arklow have been waiting for a sewerage system for 13 years. Successive governments have provided funding but a small group of people exercising their rights have used every device to delay that process.”

      Back on the agenda and it would appear that the Ringer is representing the views of some if not many of his constituents

    • #748906

      @Thomond Park wrote:

      Back on the agenda and it would appear that the Ringer is representing the views of some if not many of his constituents

      While Local Authority planning departments and ABP have there faults I would have to agree with Mr.Bell that the proposed legislation would set a dangerous benchmark for planning in this Country.

    • #748907

      I’ve heard a prominent legal bod suggest that the Bill will be struck down anyhow as unconstitutional

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