An Bord Pleanála needs additional staff urgently.
Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has said that Ireland risks becoming a place where building important infrastructure projects will become a thing of the past due to a lack of qualified staff in An Bord Pleanála.
Kelleher was commenting after being contacted by a school that has been told it must wait an extra 12 to 18 months for a decision on a planning application for a new school that should have originally been published in September.
“The school has been told by An Bord Pleanála that ‘due to a significant backlog due to staff capacity’ their decision would be delayed.
“We are facing demographic challenges in nearly every public service area. We need to be building quicker and at scale, yet this school is now being delayed by at least a year before it can even break ground.
“I have no doubt that this is just one of a myriad of examples of how ineffective An Bord Pleanála is. We are running the risk of complete inertia in our planning system.
“Minister O’Brien’s new planning legislation cannot come quickly enough. However, in the short to medium term, we need additional capacity in the Bord to deal with existing applications.
“While the State can wait for permission to build a new school, a private investor wanting to build homes or offices cannot. They may do what so many other investors have done and simply give up, and move their operations to another country where there are no inordinate planning delays.
“Ireland needs to get better and quicker at building. It’s as simple as that. If we don’t we run the risk of a future bereft of the critical infrastructure our citizens need,” concluded Kelleher.