Government approves ‘comprehensive’ overhaul of Irish town planning laws


The government has approved a ‘comprehensive’ review of Irish land use planning legislation with the aim of boosting implementation of the national housing strategy.

On Tuesday, Cabinet approved the review, which will be overseen by the attorney general, which is expected to end in September next year.

The government has also approved a review of the country’s freedom of information legislation, which has come under scrutiny in the recent controversy over the appointment of Katherine Zappone as UN envoy. .

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the country’s planning laws need a “complete overhaul” to achieve the goals set in the Housing for All strategy.

He said: “When we published Housing for All earlier this month, I reaffirmed my view that housing is the most pressing and important social issue facing our country right now and that I am determined that we as a government tackle this.

“We are also committed to ensuring that the Housing for All plan is underpinned by accountability and a strong focus on delivery.

“This large-scale planning reform program, which will bring fundamental improvements to our planning laws, reflects the approach we take as a whole, with tough deadlines and a truly intergovernmental approach to achieving the goals.” Housing for All and other major plans.

“Our planning laws need a complete overhaul to meet the ambition set out in Housing For All.

“The rationalization and simplification of the laws on town planning will support the accelerated delivery of housing provided for under the Housing for All plan. “

The Housing For All plan promises to deliver 33,000 housing units each year over the next decade, in a mix of social, affordable and private developments for sale and for rent.

But the plan was criticized at a Simon Communities conference earlier this week, with experts describing it as “unrealistic.”

A government press release said planning legislation had become “too complicated and difficult to navigate, contributing to significant delays and additional costs in the delivery of housing.

“The review of government-sanctioned planning legislation today is on an unprecedented scale, bringing in experts in planning law under the supervision of the Attorney General to improve our laws on planning. ‘town planning,’ the statement read.

The Cabinet also signed a revision of the Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation.

Minister of Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said: “The FOI system is essential to transparency and ensures that the public has confidence in the administration of the state.

“For the system to work effectively, members of the public and the media must be able to access information from public bodies.

“Since the current freedom of information legislation was enacted in 2014, we have witnessed major innovations in the field of communication technologies.

“While these have been largely positive, they have transformed the way individuals and government agencies interact with each other, and so this presents a challenge to the existing FOI system.

“It is for this reason that a comprehensive review of the freedom of information framework is timely.

“This review will look for ways the FOI model can be updated to ensure it is suitable for today’s needs.”

A roadmap is to be published by the ministry in the coming weeks, specifying the review process.


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