The Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien, has confirmed that the public will have no right to access or view plans relating to the construction of Ukrainian-related reception facilities and residential accommodation – except where an Environmental Impact Assessment or Appropriate Assessment is required for such developments.
His response to a parliamentary question on the matter from the Fianna Fail TD for Mayo, Michael Ring, came just hours after it was revealed that a Fine Gael parliamentary meeting was told that Integration Minister, Roderic O’Gorman, doesn’t engage with local communities on migrant centres opening.
The Independent reported that Minister of State Josepha Madigan was “said by sources to have told the meeting that Mr O’Gorman’s office doesn’t engage with communities despite having the information available”.
Minister O’Gorman has been repeatedly criticised by local groups for failing to engage with communities before busses of migrants or asylum seekers arrive.
In relation to new builds for asylum seekers, Deputy Ring asked Minister O’Brien when persons affected by developments invoked under a statutory instrument that gave effect to the European Union (Planning and Development) (Displaced Persons from Ukraine Temporary Protection) Regulations 2022 could view the plans of such developments, “which would be their right under normal planning procedures.”
Minister O’Brien responded by confirming to the Fianna Fail TD that under the Regulations he has issued, provisions of the Planning and Development Act 2000 will not apply to certain classes of development by or on behalf of a State Authority for the purposes of providing temporary protection to displaced persons “and as such planning requirements such as public participation, are not applicable.”
The classes of developments captured by the Regulations include:
- reception and integrations facilities
- residential accommodation, including ancillary recreational and sporting facilities
- medical and other health and social care accommodation
- education and childcare facilities, including ancillary recreational and sporting facilities
- emergency management coordination facilities
- structures or facilities ancillary to development referred to above, including administration and storage facilities
- infrastructure and other works ancillary to the above development
Minister O’Brien stated that “the Regulations are temporary and will cease to have effect when the temporary protection activated by European Council Decision ends.”