Planners and ‘objections’

Sir, – Your Cantillon article ("Planners should be able to ignore some objections to housing schemes", Business, January 14th) is revealing of some of the apocryphal myths which have taken hold in Irish society on the operation of the Irish planning system.

The idea abounds that “objections” by third parties have some form of divine powers and that the mere making of one is binding on planners and dispositive of their determination of each and every planning application.

Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, the term “objection” is not known in Irish planning law. Any member of the public is entitled to make an “observation” which can be for, against, or merely to request modifications to a development proposal.

As has always been the case, planners take all observations received into consideration as part of their assessment, alongside other policy considerations, and regularly grant planning permission contrary to “objections” received, and vice versa. In most cases, the making of an observation does not delay the course of a planning application whatsoever, as the timeframes for a determination are set by law. Furthermore, a specific legal provision has long existed to allow planners to dismiss observations that are considered frivolous or vexatious and which do not relate to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.


Despite the existence of ready-to-go planning permissions for tens of thousands of housing units throughout the country, there continues to be a sustained effort among developer interests to scapegoat the planning system for the lack of supply.

This should be seen for what it is – a crude deregulatory attempt to limit democratic public participation which, given our lamentable history of serious planning failure, must be outrightly rejected. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 1.

Sir, – We seem to be creating regulations and standards to facilitate developers.

We should be ensuring proper and adequate homes for people and families. We haven’t done that. – Yours, etc,