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People are making a living out of objecting to planning applications

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: People are making a living out of objecting to planning applications throughout the entire country.
Picture: Konrad Paprocki

PEOPLE are making a living out of objecting to planning applications submitted by others, a Kerry TD has claimed.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae has called on the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien, to substantially overhaul the process of lodging a planning objection as some people are making a living out of objections.

Many of those involved are not even living within the country, he insisted.

“I respect everyone’s entitlement to object but you will not convince me that it is fair and just that a person residing in Donegal can simply pay €20 to object to a young couple seeking planning to build a house in Kerry,” Deputy Healy-Rae stated.

“It simply makes no logical sense to me. People are making a living out of objecting to planning applications throughout the entire country and it is disgraceful,” said Deputy Healy-Rae who challenged the minister to overhaul the process of objecting.

Apart from increasing the fee, the Kerry TD also favours restricting objections, especially in the case of single dwellings, to those directly affected by the planning application.

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien

“If you do not live within or own land within a 5km radius of a proposed development, you should not be entitled to object. Why would it bother someone living in Kenmare what someone in Listowel is doing?” Deputy Healy-Rae asked.

He also called on different rules for significant developments for multiple houses or commercial developments

“Different rules should apply as it would affect more people so perhaps a 20km radius would be suitable for that.

“We have had cases in the past whereby proposed business developments have gone by the wayside due to objectors who were not even living in the same country – they were holiday home owners from America,” he revealed.

The Kerry TD also sought greater transparency when objections are lodged with objectors having to prove their identity to the local authority.

“We had a situation in the past in Kerry whereby it turned out the person who lodged an objection didn’t even exist and we disgustingly had a case whereby the identity of a man who had passed away was used to object to a proposed planning development,” Deputy Healy-Rae stated.

In his response, however, Minister O’Brien that he was satisfied that the current arrangements in relation to public participation and had no proposals to amend the legislation.

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