An Taisce branded a ‘secret society’

AN Taisce was last night labelled a secret society.

At the adjourned May meeting of Clare County Council, councillors adopted a motion calling on Minister Phil Hogan to delist An Taisce under current planning legislation.

Currently local authorities are required to refer certain planning applications to An Taisce for its observations.

However, at last night’s meeting, Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) said it was a disgrace the way in which An Taisce was objecting to and subsequently appealing to An Bord Pleanala applications for one-off housing in the county.

Cllr Cooney said: “Young people are seeking to build a home for themselves and An Taisce are appealing decisions at the last minute to An Bord Pleanala.”

Cllr PJ Kelly (FF) said that An Taisce is a secret society, and the organisation should make its membership public, remarking that its members may contain representatives of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Fine Gael councillor, Joe Arkins said that An Taisce objects to developments in Co Clare without properly researching planning applications “and as a consequence of that they have lost credibility”.

However, Green Party councillor, Brian Meaney said that An Taisce had been unfairly vilified in the debate with “inflammatory and dangerous language used”.

However, the motion was carried with Cllr Meaney and Cllr Patricia McCarthy (Ind) dissenting.

Last night the chairman of An Taisce, Charles Stanley Smith said that he was disappointed by the action.

“The councillors fail to understand An Taisce’s role. We are not a decision-making body. We are not anti-rural or anti-development.”

Mr Stanley Smith said that An Taisce “is there to protect the common good.”

He also denied the claim that the organisation is a secret society. “Anyone can join and the members of the governing body of An Taisce are well known.

“We don’t appeal for the sake of appealing. We do tend to win with 80% of decisions going our way.”


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