Following confirmation that Rory Mulcahy SC has been appointed to review allegations of planning irregularities in Donegal, Independent Councillor Dessie Shiels has written to the Environment Minister asking that the scope of the review be widened to allow the public make submissions.
Cllr Shiels says anything less will be a token gesture which will not address public concerns.
Mr Mulcahy has been tasked by Minister Alan Kelly to review a number of claims made by a whistleblower who previously workled with the council.
However, Cllr Shiels believes there are long standing issues which can only be addressed if public submissions are invited............
Text of Cllr Shiels' letter to the minister -
|Mr Alan Kelly
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government
Dept of the Environment, Community and Local Government Custom House
|Re: Planning Enquiry in County Donegal|
I understand that a planning review of certain files in Co. Donegal is underway and is being carried out by Mr Rory Mulcahy SC.
Whilst any planning review is welcome, there is little point in carrying out a token review of planning matters in Donegal based on confined complaints of one former planner.
Public confidence in Donegal will not be restored by a limited planning review which may turn out to be a ‘review’ in nothing other than name. In fact, a review which merely brushes over any issues raised will actually further destroy public confidence.
Instead given the very many issues which have arisen in Donegal over a long number of years, any review process should be opened up to the general public in Donegal who should be invited to make their complaints within defined terms to Mr Mulcahy SC. A simple advertisement inviting any person in Donegal with bona fide planning concerns to make their complaints known to Mr Mulcahy within say a period of 21 days from the date of that advertisement would be a significant step forward. Whilst such a step might be unprecedented, I would suggest that given your quoted media comments that you are ‘committed to ensuring the integrity of the planning system’ that you should have no difficulty in opening up any planning review process in Donegal to the general public.
I await hearing from you.
Councillor Dessie Shiels