An Taisce is OTT

The call by An Taisce to prorogue the planning function of Dublin City Council and appoint a commissioner gives the impression of serious abuses by officials of the planning process. I am on record as supporting the Ballsbridge Development which inevitably finished up with An Bord Pleanala.

Decisions in the planning sphere are qualitative and are a matter of opinion. Opinions vary. I remember a red bricked house surrounded by woodland on that site in the 1960s which was replaced by the Intercontinental Hotel, later Jury’s. PV Doyle next built the Berkeley Court alongside. That site in Ballsbridge is useful to develop as a contrast to the surrounds at Pembroke, Elgin, Raglan, Wellington and Clyde Roads towards Herbert Park. The houses in the area date from the mid nineteenth century. Many are turned into businesses. The American Embassy replaced another large house and was opened to much fanfare.

The Carlton site and Moore Street have been extensively debated by councillors and plans and options made public. Again, there were varying opinions. I believe that An Taisce is reacting to opposition to their prescriptions for our city in an arrogant intolerant and dictatorial manner. Their vituperation is of such magnitude that it undermines their credibility. I support the general principles and most of the detail outlined in “Maximising the City’s Potential” published on the Dublin City Council website. My head is well above the parapet on planning. There is no smell of corruption in the City Council Planning Department. Minister Gormley should order an independent external audit if he has suspicions.

External random audits of planning across the whole country should be a standard procedure of the Department of the Environment.