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Councillor Cillian Murphy asked for a breakdown of all the services offered, and the staffing levels relevant to each of those services.

Planning act briefing as councillors fear input could be limited

A BRIEFING on the impact that new planning laws might have on the powers of local authority members is to be organised, the head of the Council has said. 

Mr Pat Dowling was responding, at the January meeting of the authority, to concerns voiced by Councillor Cillian Murphy. The Loop Head man raised the topic of the Planning and Development Act, which was signed into law last month.

He noted correspondence from Cork County Council members who have forwarded their concerns to Minister Darragh O’Brien and to associations representing councillors. They said that the law will “limit local Councillors’ powers” and that a ten-year proposed life span for county development plans is “far too long”. 

Addressing Clare County Council, Councillor Murphy asked for a briefing on how the new legislation will impact local authority members. “It is only a notice of motion that was passed by the council in Cork, but if there is something there and if it is going to impact on our role, we need an update.

Responding, Mr Dowling noted that there are a number of developments taking place in the context of of planning legislation and the evolution of An Bord Pleanála. In respect for a briefing for elected Council members, Mr Dowling said: “I think it would be worthwhile when it’s timely to do so. I think we need to look at the status of the various developments that have taken place that we will facilitate something for the members. I think that’s best served when we have more definite news on where things are going on, but we will arrange that when we believe it’s a good time to do so.”

At its December meeting, Cork County Council resolved that: “Cork County Council would write to the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage of Ireland to express concern at the proposed Planning & Development Bill coming before cabinet this week which will limit local Councillors’ powers. The proposed bill seeks to change the term of the County Development Plan to ten years which is far too long.”

The bill was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins on December 20, 2022. 

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