Minister says ‘tens of thousands’ of homes held up due to legal challenges

Peter Burke says one in four housing developments are subject of judicial challenges

Plans to build "tens of thousands" of homes are being held up because of the high level of legal challenges, Minister of State for Local Government and Planning Peter Burke has said.

Mr Burke said one in four housing developments are currently the subject of judicial reviews, with a 375 percent increase in such legal actions since 2018.

This could slow down plans to build 100,000 homes before 2030, he warned.

Plans for a change in the process under which such objections can be lodged will be "teased out" before an Oireachtas committee in the near future as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process, Mr Burke told RTÉ Radio on Monday.


The frequency and proliferation of such objections has to be curbed, he said. A reasonable pace for the planning process needed to be ensured as it was unfair that at present the process could be halted by a judicial review before a decision was even reached.

Some planning decisions were being delayed by up to four years and were challenged “every step of the way”, said Mr Burke.

“That’s not good enough in terms of outcome. The system needs to have reasonable time frame.”

The process needs to be allowed to run its course before there are objections as “tens of thousands” of homes were being held up for “very significant” periods because of objections, he added.

There was a “growing” legal industry in judicial reviews with some law companies actively advertising their services which was why a cap of €40,000 for awards was being proposed.

“We need to ensure that it (objections) is not a growing industry,” the Minister said. “We want to make the process more robust.”