Galway county councillors have hit out about the role of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII ) in planning permission applications around the county.
Fine Gael councillor Jimmy McClearn says he finds it unacceptable TII raising objections to planning applications after the local authority has passed them.
Cllr McClearn said at the monthly meeting of the Galway County Council on Monday; “I am concerned about the role of TII in planning permissions. We adhere to the county development plan and then TII object. TII did not raise objections when [county development] plans were agreed. I cannot accept this.
“As a planning authority which complies with all of the national requirements and this organisation [TII] is appealing these applications to An Bord Pleanála, it is not acceptable to me or any member who draws up hours of planning. Does TII have a problem with our bona fides of the county development plans?”
Connemara councillor Séamus Walsh said he agreed with Cllr McClearn’s sentiments, questioning how TII can appeal decisions after they have been agreed at the local authority, but he did contend that An Bord Pleanála is the problem not TII.
“I concur with Cllr Mclearn. If planning department has adhered to the plan, how can TII appeal it? I am more concerned about An Bord Pleanála not respecting our development plan, our councillors, and our planners. Unless there is an error, An Bord Pleanála should not be finding against us.
“The Government should be stepping in and drawing up guidelines for An Bord Pleanála. We have seen what has happened in Barna. I believe An Bord Pleanála are the problem not TII.”
Independent Jim Cuddy said TII was inconsistent when appealing planning applications and that “it is high time TII were taken out of the equation altogether [with regards to planning applications]”.
Cllr Tomás Ó Curraoin said; “They [TII] are sticking their noses in where they shouldn’t. I think we should be in charge here and not get interferences from outside.”
In response to the councillors’ concerns, director of services Jim Cullen said he would be willing to examine them any specific submissions made by the TII with which councillors had an issue.
“The issue of differences of opinion between TII and us as an planning authority have been long standing. I do recall objections and submissions from TII at that time [when the county development plan was being drafted]. If members would like to bring my attention to certain submissions, I would be happy to look over them.”