Tuesday 3 April 2012

Greens put pressure on Hogan to re-open planning inquiries

THE Green Party last night added to the pressure on Environment Minister Phil Hogan to re-open a series of planning investigations, which they started in government.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore denied the Government had deliberately killed off the planning inquiries into six councils around the country.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said internal reviews had been carried out into a number of local authorities by former environment minister John Gormley. He claimed Mr Hogan had done nothing to progress the review.

Mr Gilmore said the review would be completed after the publication of the retail planning guidelines in April. And he said Mr Hogan would make a public statement on the inquiries at that time.

"The issues that are being looked at will be published in full," he said.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said Mr Hogan should continue the work done by Mr Gormley "rather than rely on internal reviews that will come to similar conclusions to earlier reports.

"It is unacceptable and damaging to politics when Minister Phil Hogan and other ministers deliberately mislead the public by claiming that Minister Gormley had done nothing to progress his independent reviews of planning practices in a number of local authorities."

Mr Ryan said Mr Gormley worked assiduously to progress the independent inquiries, "which Minister Hogan then shelved for reasons which are unclear.

"The Carlow case in his own constituency is worth looking at. Over a year since he took office, why do we still not have the results of his 'internal review', given that an internal review of these complaints was already completed as far back as 2009," he said.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Alan Shatter promised to update corruption laws. And he's going to look at banning those found to have given bribes from applying for work funded by the taxpayer.


Mr Shatter said the Mahon Tribunal final report recommends amending the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889 to cover TDs and senators.

Mr Shatter said he proposed to repeal all seven Acts making up the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889 to 2010. He will then replace them with a single new law, which will apply to everybody in the public and private sector.

"The tribunal suggests the exclusion of bribe-givers from public tenders. I think that we should also seriously consider the exclusion from public office of those who accept bribes," he said.

"I will also deal in the proposed corruption legislation with other recommendations made by the tribunal in this area," he added.

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

Read the article @ The Irish Independent


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