Thursday, 10 July 2014
Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2014: First Stage
That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend Part XVI of the Planning and Development Act 2000 by conferring powers on the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to permit the grant of a licence for events in exceptional circumstances.I seek leave to introduce this short amending Bill, which emanates from the fiasco developing around the Garth Brooks series of concerts. This Bill is not an effort by me or my party to meddle in the planning process. The Bill recognises that the Act of 2000, in respect of the issuance of licences for large-scale entertainment events, does not have an appeals mechanism. Unlike other provisions of the planning Acts concerning development generally, with which we may be more familiar, in which there is the opportunity to appeal a decision of a local authority to An Bord Pleanála, there is, unfortunately, no such provision in the existing legislation. The Bill provides an interim measure to allow the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to review a decision taken by a local authority and to take into consideration the facts taken into account by the licensing authority but also the economic impact of such an event not taking place and the reputational damage to the country from a tourism perspective. The Bill provides a short-term measure to deal with the current impasse and we are prepared to accept amendments from the Government in respect of a long-term, sustainable methodology to allow for an appeals mechanism for licensing decisions. If accepted, the legislation provides a short-term opportunity to deal with the current impasse, and I hope the Government will accept this in good faith and use it as a means to overcome the impasse in respect of this event. I am happy to have it taken in Private Members' time, but I hope the Government will move it in Government time.