Planning and local democracy

 

Sir, – It was interesting to hear the Taoiseach endorse the right – some of us would say duty – of public representatives to speak out on planning matters.

As a councillor, I occasionally tabled a complex or controversial planning application for discussion at the open public meetings of the local area committee. There we received an informed neutral presentation of the application and councillors could ask questions, provide local knowledge and express support or opposition for the application.

All of this was done in public for anyone to see, and indeed in the case of Dublin City Council look back at the webcast to see what had been said. Transparent, accountable and democratic.

Unfortunately in one of the regular missives from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, we were told to cease this practice.

Perhaps the Taoiseach might translate his commitment to public representatives doing our job to the department and have the circular withdrawn. – Yours, etc,

Cllr DERMOT LACEY,

(Labour),

Donnybrook,

Dublin 4.