The Irish Planning Institute has noted the conclusions of the Mahon Report on irregularities in the planning process and is satisfied that at no stage in the process of the tribunal inquiry, has the integrity of professional planners been questioned. However, the Institute is of the view that the Report's findings demonstrate the need for a tightening of procedures for the zoning of development land.
The Institute welcomes the publication of the report which marks the end of a lengthy public inquiry. While the report does criticise the conduct of certain persons in the planning system (as did the previous interim report from the same tribunal), none of these persons are professional planners or members of the Institute.
As well as confirming the integrity of the planning profession in Ireland, the report’s findings provide an opportunity to reflect on the distinction between the different roles of those responsible for the operation of the planning system.
On the report's key recommendations, the IPI says:
The report acknowledges that there have been changes in intervening years which have strengthened the planning system and that these have been positive.
It agrees with the majority of the recommendations in particular those that suggest that National Plans (NSS and NDP) should be put on a statutory footing.
The suggestion that "gaps" still remain at regional and national level in terms of the election of Regional Authorities and the appointment of board members to the NTA is valid. The IPI has for many years suggested that regional planning is essential in Ireland having regard to size of the country and the multiplicity of County Councils. Many infrastructure projects, towns, etc. serve regions and it is only logical that these should be planned in a regional context. It is normal in many European countries to have strong regional government with decision making powers. Recent amalgamations of local authorities provide a context for strong regional planning.
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