A PRELIMINARY inquiry into planning decisions at Donegal County Council is expected to recommend a full investigation, donegaldaily.com has learned.
The current internal inquiry, run by the Department of Environment, was initiated by this Government instead of an external audit which was recommended by the last administration under the Green Party and Fianna Fail.
A report on the inquiry into Donegal County Councils and six other local authorities will be given to the Government next month.
There is an ongoing row between government and opposition parties over how the inquiry has stalled.
Former Green Party leader John Gormley has been furious at claims from the Government that despite launching investigations in June 2010, he had done nothing about it before the last government collapsed.
We understand that early indications about the Donegal County Council inquiry is pointing to “the need for further investigations.”
One source told us: “There are several issues arising from the Donegal inquiry which will probably require further investigation by an outside agency.”
Last month Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Dail that ex-minister for the environment John Gormley had established an independent review into the planning practices in those local authorities and a year since taking the position, Phil Hogan had not taken the probe further.
“Why is there still no outcome to his internal reviews nine months after he suppressed the independent reviews the former minister, Mr Gormley, established?” Mr Martin asked at the time.
Mr Martin said that Mr Hogan had been given “an extensive dossier” prepared by planning officials in the department following an internal review of complaints made from 2007 to 2009.
He added that the Minister also had a series of reports from the managers in each of the local authorities. The terms of reference for a panel of planning consultants were also available, said Mr Martin.
However Mr Gilmore said that seven months after Mr Gormley ordered the investigation, nothing had happened.
Mr Hogan had asked for an internal review to take place.
He had instructed officials to conduct an internal review and to report to him on what further actions might be warranted.
Mr Martin said he had spoken to Mr Gormley.
“The bottom line is there was resistance to these inquiries within the system,” he claimed.
He said Mr Gilmore should meet Mr Gormley and look at the dossier on the issue.
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