14 Nov 2006

Last week, much was made of Laois County Council's decision to provide more developable land in their Draft Plan than the National Spatial Strategy recommended. Following media pressure for Dick Roche to respond, the Minister was on RTE warning the Council of what would happen if Laois ignored government policy.

What we found odd about the whole story is how the media and Mr. Roche reacted to the situation: Laois, in their view, was out of line and the only conceivable course of action was for the government to intervene. Not one commentator (that we could find, anyway) addressed the little issue of… democracy. That is, the right of the elected members of a local authority to determine on behalf of the community who selected them that community's future. The truth about the planning system in this country is that it's completely centralised. The local authorities are little more than agents for the DoE.

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