An Taisce KKK Claims Refuted
An Taisce have come out strongly against claims made by Senator Denis O'Donovan where he launch an attack on An Taisce - The National Trust of Ireland. The Southern Star newspaper publish an article by Denis O'Donovan - a member of the Agricultural Panel of Seanad Éireann. The Senator described the workings of the organisation like a secretive one, much like that of the Ku Klux Klan', he goes on to say how Cork County Manager public complained about the organisation after they appeal one of his decisions in the County to An Bord Pleanála and their is no transparence as to how to join the organisation.
According to the Senator An Taisce ‘gets mandatory notice of every rural planning application in Ireland' however An Taisce have said that they only even get notice of planning applications where "where adverse impacts may arise in respect of water quality, human health, scenic landscape, endangered wildlife and a limited number of related grounds as set out in legislation." Following this An Taisce will appeal the decision of the local authority to An Bord Pleanála. National just 7% of planning applications are sent to An Taisce.
The Senator goes on to say that "challenge[d] the autonomy of Cork County Council and its manager in respect of that organisation’s policy on one-off housing’ and that Cork County Manager, Martin Ó Riordain, ‘unusually made a public statement in disgust and disdain for what An Taisce is trying to do in respect of rural housing."
An Taisce have responded by saying that the statement is factually incorrect as they lodged a complaint in respect to the use of a Liaison Officer for certain planning applications, as such officer have no ground to carry out such work in Law. The matter continues to be under investigation.
The Senator also suggested that An Taisce remained silent at previous times during an era of corrupt planning applications and many applications which when built resulted in "Ghost Estates".
An Taisce member Michael Smith was a co-sponsor of a reward for information on corrupt planning permissions and land re-zoning. The information attained by the reward - which was not rewarded - pressured the then government to set up the Mahon Tribunal. Mr. Smith became chair of An Taisce.
An Taisce published their recent report "State of the Nation: A Review of the Irish Planning System 2000 - 2011" that shows An Taisce has a history of exposing bad planning and rezoning.
The Senators claims of secrecy at the organisation were also refuted An Taisce said "An Taisce’s advocacy work in the areas of planning and natural environmental is done primarily by unpaid volunteers. An Taisce is an open organisation and any person who wishes to help An Taisce protect and enhance and our natural and built environment is welcome to join and become involved. "