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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Jan O'Sullivan ensures planning will be "incorruptible" in future

Fiona Ellis

Minister of State for Housing and Planning Jan O'Sullivan has said she will implement the recommendations of the Mahon and Flood tribunals and she is very serious about ensuring that planning is “incorruptible in the future, in so far as it can be.”

Minister O'Sullivan said in the autumn she would introduce legislation which will include provision for a planning regulator.

“All of the recommendations of the planning regulator will be out clearly in the public arena for people to judge,” she said.

“I am going to implement the element that says that the planning regulator can carry out investigations.”

She said the regulator will be able to carry out investigations and assessments of forward planning and “will be quite free to choose to carry out regulations in accordance to that person’s judgement.”

Minister O'Sullivan was speaking to RTE’s ‘Prime Time’ in the wake of the collapse of the trail involving businessman Jim Kennedy, and three former councillors. The trial collapsed due to the deteriorating health of star witness Frank Dunlop.

Mr Kennedy, former councillors Liam Cosgrave and Colm McGrath, and serving councillor Tony Fox, denied allegations of corruption in relation to the alleged corrupt rezoning of land at Carrickmines in south County Dublin during the 1990s.

Former councillor Don Lydon, who also denied a charge of corruption, was discharged on Monday.

Minister O'Sullivan also said she is very serious about ensuring that planning is “incorruptible in the future, in so far as it can be” and has already taken action to de-zone the equivalent of 500,000 new houses which would become ghost estates otherwise.

Speaking about Junior Minister John Perry's current financial difficulty, Minister O'Sullivan said she thought it would be right that he would be given some time to see if he can address his difficulties with the banks.

She also said, in relation the raid on Independent TD Michael Lowry’s home in Co Tipperary on Tuesday, the situation needed to be left to the Revenue Commissioners. She said “it would be wrong of me, as a public representative, and as a minster of state to intervene in that in any way.” 

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