Oonagh Buckley appointed as interim chairwoman of An Bord Pleanála

Appointment of deputy secretary general at Department of Justice comes after former chairman Dave Walsh decided to take early retirement

The Government has appointed Oonagh Buckley as interim chairwoman of An Bord Pleanála (ABP).

Former chairman Dave Walsh decided to take early retirement in late October, and his resignation left only four active board members.

Substantial changes in the governance of the board were included in the Heads of the Development and Foreshore (Amendment) Bill 2022, published earlier this month by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, that sets out to rectify some of the flaws that came to light following serious allegations of conflict of interest against former deputy chairman, Paul Hyde.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has confirmed proceedings have been instituted in relation to matters concerning Mr Hyde.


The overall board membership of An Bord Pleanála will be increased from ten to 15 under the proposals in draft legislation, and the appointment of Ms Buckley will be effected through the use of ministerial powers under existing provisions and forthcoming amendments.

Ms Buckley was appointed as the deputy secretary general of the Department of Justice in November 2018. In that role, Ms Buckley is responsible for civil law, which includes immigration, courts and legislation.

Ms Buckley previously held the post of director general of the Workplace Relations Commission and had worked in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, as well as in the Department of the Environment and Department of Foreign Affairs. In her time in the Department of the Environment she worked for a number of years on planning policy and legislation and on wildlife conservation.

Ms Buckley holds a BCL, a LLM in Comparative European Law and a MA in European Studies. She was called to the Bar in 1996. In 2018 she completed an MSc in Business from UCD Smurfit School of Business, and in 2017 she was appointed an adjunct professor in law at UCC.