An Bord Pleanála chairperson participated in just one percent of board decisions – including the approval of twice-refused strategic housing development

Since her appointment to An Bord Pleanála (ABP), chairperson Oonagh Buckley has only voted in four planning cases – one of which was a twice-refused strategic housing development in north Dublin.  

Buckley has participated in just more than one percent of cases decided by the board since her appointment in January this year. Her predecessor Dave Walsh voted in over 15 percent of cases during his tenure according to statistics released by ABP.

Earlier this month The Ditch reported that the board has been operating without a file restrictions register for almost two months.

ABP confirmed this week to The Ditch that Buckley participated in just four of 375 planning cases decided by the board since her appointment on 11 January. She didn’t vote on a single case in January, February and April.

Among the four cases decided by Buckley was the approval of a strategic housing development in Lusk, north county Dublin.

Though ABP had twice refused permission for the 312-unit scheme, when it again came before the board in March this year, the board’s inspector recommended granting permission. The inspector however imposed a number of conditions on applicant Dwyer Nolan Developments.

Buckley, along with board members Una Cross and Chris McGarry, decided to ignore two of the inspector's recommendations concerning parking and landscaping.  

ABP now has almost twice as many board members as it did this time last year. This 15-person board will help “provide the necessary capacity to address current delays”, according to a recent statement released on the planning body’s website.

Last week the Bar Council of Ireland issued a statement in response to a derogatory remark made by Buckley concerning two High Court judges. She recently apologised to planning law solicitor Fred Logue following comments she made about him at a planning conference in April this year.

ABP declined to comment.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors