Thursday, 29 April 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Harbours and Piers
On 26 March 2021, my Department received a statement of case for imperative reasons of overriding public interest (IROPI), a copy of the planning application and a Natura Impact Statement from An Bord Pleanála, pursuant to section 177AA(1) of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended (“the 2000 Act”), in respect of an application for permission for a strategic infrastructure development lodged with An Bord Pleanála by Galway Harbour Company. The planning application relates to the proposed extension to Galway Harbour and will result in direct and permanent loss of habitats in the Galway Bay Complex Special Area of Conservation.
Pursuant to Section 177AB(1)(a) of the 2000 Act, I am required to request the views of the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (formerly the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht) as to whether the compensatory measures proposed in the planning application are sufficient to ensure that the overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network is protected. On this basis, I issued a letter dated 27 April 2021, to Ms Catherine Martin, TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, requesting her views as to whether the compensatory measures proposed in the application are sufficient to ensure that the overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network is protected.
It should be noted that there is no statutory time period set for completion of any of the steps in Section 177AB of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. In this regard, while a response to my letter is pending, I am not in a position to give a timeline for completion of the present stage of the IROPI process in section 177AB(1) in this instance.