Junior Fianna Fáil Minister Niall Collins has described allegations that he failed to properly disclose his planning application as “misleading and inaccurate”.
He said the planning application made for his family home 23 years ago was made when he was a private citizen and before he entered politics.
“I clearly met the planning criteria on two grounds, by virtue of being the son of a long term resident landholder and having lived in the pressure area prior to 1990,” he said.
“The matter of whether I owned a house with my wife near Limerick city, which was outside the pressure area was not an issue of consideration our policy at the time under that county development plan and whether I had stated that are not was immaterial. to the planning adjudication process 23 years ago,” Mr Collins told the Dáil in a personal statement.
Refuting the allegations contained on The Ditch website, Mr Collins said his home area of Patrick’s Well was deemed to be in the pressure area as designated by the 1999 Limerick county development plan, which was the overarching planning policy document and upon which planning decisions were made at the time.
He said the decision on his planning application for his new home near his parents would be based on the policy contained in the 1999 Limerick county development plan, which clearly stated that any person who lived in the pressure area prior to 1990 was eligible to be granted permission.
“I was eligible in accordance with the planning criteria, and I appointed a local architect to compile and submit the application on my behalf,” he said