Sir, – I refer to your editorial "Corrib gas – A lesson in 'how not to'" (February 1st), in which it is asserted that it was only after then taoiseach Bertie Ahern personally intervened that An Bord Pleanála granted permission in 2004 for the Corrib gas project. An inference might be taken that the then taoiseach intervened with An Bord Pleanála. No such intervention took place.
An Bord Pleanála is an independent body that was established under the Local Government (Planning and Development Act) 1976, which explicitly set out that while An Bord Pleanála should operate within the general framework of public policy, ministers may not exercise any power or control in relation to any particular case.
Since its establishment, An Bord Pleanála has provided an independent, objective and impartial appeals process. Board members and staff, past and present, are rightly proud of the excellent reputation for independence and integrity which has been earned by the board over those years.
The planning system frequently requires difficult decisions to be taken, and not everyone necessarily agrees with the final outcomes.
These decisions are not taken lightly and involve examination, assessment, evaluation, public consultation and final decision, having regard to the principles of proper planning and sustainable development. – Yours, etc,
Dr MARY KELLY,
An Bord Pleanála,