Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Public Accounts Committee

Vote 34 - Housing, Planning and Local Government (resumed)

11:00 am

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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I have some questions and I ask Mr. Doyle to keep his replies brief. I apologise if we sometimes cut across each other but we are trying to use technology and we are also caught with time limits arising from Covid-19 precautions.

I will speak to the timeline. I have made it my business to speak with officials, and particularly practitioners such as engineers etc. on the ground, over recent years in particular on the timeline for new builds. To be honest, I get a feeling of fierce frustration from them arising from delays and the level of micromanagement of projects by the Department. Stuff is sent back and forth to the Custom House. There is all the appearance of a system of micromanagement. If we want local authorities to act maturely and do the business for us, we must relax the restrictions and red tape. This is not an argument for any kind of wild west behaviour but will the Department look at this?

I raised the issue with the previous Minister, and former Deputy, Eoghan Murphy, and the Minister before him in the context of giving local authorities some breathing space. I ask Mr. Doyle, as the Secretary General of the Department, to look at the matter again with a view to giving local authorities some breathing space and putting more trust in them.