Dáil debates

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions


12:10 pm

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Deputy. These are very serious allegations and serious allegations need to be taken seriously and properly investigated, but people are entitled to due process as well. I am sure the Deputy will acknowledge that. His questions are specific and deserve an answer. I might ask the Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, to revert to the Deputy with specific answers to his questions because I do not want to give him an answer here that might turn out to be incorrect. While I have been briefed on this matter, it has been evolving and I might not be fully up to date on it.

What I can say is that a senior counsel has been appointed to provide a report to inform the Minister on this issue. Terms of reference for the report were published by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage on its website on 12 May. Remy Farrell, senior counsel, is requested to provide a report to the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage in accordance with these terms of reference within a period of six weeks. Pending completion of the report of the senior counsel, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further. The Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, is aware of the allegations that have been made and understands that those allegations are denied by the member concerned. As I stated, pending completion of the report, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.

The Office of the Planning Regulator has independently written to the chairperson of An Bord Pleanála, requesting him to outline the systems and procedures that An Bord Pleanála has in place to ensure effective compliance with the statutory duties provided for in the planning Acts regarding the declaration of interests and any other information he considers relevant. I understand that An Bord Pleanála has responded to that request and the Planning Regulator is considering the response. An Bord Pleanála is independent in the performance of its functions under the planning Act.


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