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Green Party Communications | 12.06.2012 | Back to News | News Archive
All seven Councils coming out squeaky clean beggars belief, given what we know happened in the light of Dublin, Waterford and Carlow, said Green Party Planning spokesperson Tom Kivlehan today
"We will never know what the real stories were in these and other Councils because Fine Gael and Labour are in control of both local and central government. It is beyond belief that the key problem that has been identified relates merely to communication and PR issues. We saw in the recent Court case in Waterford, where John Gormley had intervened in his role as Planning Minister, that there are real problems in the Irish planning system. What we are seeing with this Government is no real reform, no transparency and a willingness to cover up past failings that make us fear for the future. Bad planning laid the foundations for our present economic woes and this Government is acting ostrich like and is prepared to learn nothing from past mistakes".
The following points should be made:
– This report is very similar, both in format and content, to the internal review of complaints that was undertaken by the Department and submitted to Minister Gormley back in November 2009.
– It is very unlikely that this report took more than a year to produce – it is much more likely that it was put together subsequent to the issue being raised after the publication of the Mahon Report.
– The appointment of an independent expert to "assess all actions contained in the planning review report" is clearly a fig-leaf for the lack of any independent involvement in the preparation of the report. This independent expert is to be given no role in actually investigating any of the matters raised, so in effect the outcome of the internal review is to draw a veil over all of the cases. The Government criticised Minister Gormley for the costs of appointing independent experts, but they are now appointing an independent person purely as a PR exercise to undertake work that should be done by the Department itself, while keeping such experts out of work that should be done independently.
Tom Kivlehan said that the methodology by which they seem to have come to the conclusion that there was no abuse of office was that officials from the Department visited senior officials in the Councils for a chat, they asked them a list of questions and that was the sum total of the inquiry.