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By Chamber Press Office, 10 May 2018
Apple's decision to scrap plans for a data centre in Athenry should serve as a wake-up call regarding the need to reform Ireland's planning regime, according to business group Dublin Chamber.
Dublin Chamber was reacting to today's confirmation that Apple will not proceed with plans to build a new data centre in Co Galway, due to lengthy planning delays.
Dublin Chamber believes that a number of planning reforms are required to facilitate commercial, residential and infrastructure development in Ireland.
According to Dublin Chamber CEO Mary Rose Burke: "The Apple situation highlights why a greater amount of certainty needs to be introduced into the planning process. As a country, we are at risk of becoming uncompetitive with other jurisdictions if we cannot improve the efficiency our planning process by making it speedier and less legalistic. Reforms are required regarding the rights of third parties to appeal against a planning decision by a planning authority. Third parties’ in this context means people who have views about a planning application, whether or not they are directly affected by it.
In each of the past four years, between 50% and 60% of appeals received by An Bórd Pleanála were third party appeals to planning decisions, according to Dublin Chamber."
Ms Burke added: "These third party rights are almost unique to Ireland and are one of the main reasons for the slowness, waste and inefficiency of our planning process compared to other States. By contrast, there is no third party right of appeal against planning decisions in most jurisdictions including in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Each of these jurisdictions have examined the idea of giving third parties a right of objection to planning decisions. However, in each case it was found to have been inefficient as well as undemocratic by advisory groups."