Labour to table amendments to make it an offence to demand payoffs for withdrawing planning appeals
Labour Party leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik will table amendments to the Planning and Development Bill to address any potential for abuse of the judicial review system by professional litigants.
Deputy Bacik said:
“In recent times we have become increasingly aware of concerns around abuses of the planning system by ‘professional litigants’.
“We know that RTÉ Investigates will expose particular aspects of this practice in a special programme this evening, but there have already been reports about a number of similar high profile incidents where individuals have sought to abuse the planning system for financial gain.
“Labour intends to put down amendments to the Planning Bill to address this practice, through introducing an offence for a judicial review applicant to demand or to receive money as a condition for withdrawing proceedings, unless the proceedings relate to alleged damage to a legally recognised and compensatable interest of the applicant.
“Of course, local residents affected by a planning decision that might adversely affect them would not be criminalised by our amendment.
“Confidence in the planning system is already at rock bottom, and we know that there have been many controversial problems with our planning system, with a backlog of outstanding applications and long delays in the process. We are keen to ensure effective reforms and intend to bring forward this amendment in that constructive spirit.”