6 Jul 2007

I am in total agreement with that section of the book which revisits the debauchery that prevailed under the Haughey regime and criticizes the abuses we’ve all come to learn about.

However, it seems to me that for anyone critical of that Mafia Era, the next logical step would be to engage in debate about the form a suitable planning system might take.

To my mind, the authors don’t attempt to do this. Instead they leap straight from an accurate analysis of the corruption of the Haughey days to advocacy of a hard-to-grasp concept of sustainability which is propped by four oft-repeated arguments

That construction of family dwellings outside of villages and towns is not welcome

That Waterford, Cork, Limerick and Galway should merge to create a ‘counter-pole’ to Dublin

That local authorities should be completely subservient to central government in planning matters

That the role of An Taisce in the planning process is only for the good and completely beyond question

I think that, although these arguments may or may not be true, the authors haven’t made their case. At least not in this book. 

I agree with you, Colm, that everyone with an interest in planning should read ‘Chaos’ – for better or worse it represents the state of play on Irish environmental planning. And it shows up just how much more ground we have to cover.

I’d like to hear more comments.

Colm has agreed to write another review in the coming weeks which I’m looking forward to. If anyone else would like to have a go (on, say, recent IRDA publications?) please feel free.

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