Housing official claims residents’ associations are speaking for the dead

Housing official claims residents' associations are speaking for the dead

A senior government official has claimed that residents’ associations are routinely counting the dead among opponents to housing developments.

Paul Hogan, chief planner in the Department of Housing, reportedly made the remarks to the joint Oireachtas committee on housing, local government and heritage as it concluded public hearings on the draft Planning and Development Bill 2022 yesterday.

The bill will place new restrictions on the bringing of judicial reviews against proposed developments, leading to a warning from the Law Society that it could limit access to justice.

Residents’ associations would not be able to bring objections under the new law unless they have been structured as a company with at least 10 members for at least a year.

According to the Irish Independent, Mr Hogan said it “wasn’t uncommon for people to misrepresent the views of certain residents in some cases, to speak on their behalf when they wouldn’t necessarily agree”.

He claimed it was a “reasonably regular occurrence” for residents’ associations to claim to speak on behalf of vacant houses and “deceased people, which caused great offence in some instances”.

The draft Planning and Development Bill 2022 was published by ministers in January and is currently in the late stages of pre-legislative scrutiny.

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