THE Department of the Environment said it has no plans to investigate allegations that “serial objectors” who may have links to heritage group An Taisce took money to withdraw objections to planning permission.
The claims were made in the Dáil last March by Fine Gael TD Tom Sheahan, who hit out at “serial objectors” and said he knew of one who “took €25,000 in cash to withdraw an objection to planning permission for two family members on a holding”.
The Kerry South TD claimed “a lot of these people are aligned and associated with An Taisce and the Green Party”.
Although the allegations were made five months ago, revelations yesterday that An Taisce received €30,000 in donations from supermarket giant Tesco and incinerator firm Indaver sparked calls for an inquiry by the Department of the Environment into past claims.
The Save Newgrange group, which opposes the construction of a bypass in Slane, Co Meath, said Environment Minister John Gormley should investigate these claims.
Spokesperson Vincent Salafia said: “We welcome the minister’s investigation into planning irregularities in six counties, including Meath, but we also feel that equal weight must be given to these allegations.”
The group and two Meath county councillors have already complained of a conflict of interest in An Taisce accepting €25,000 from Tesco and €5,000 from Indaver, firms that had regularly sought planning permission.
The June edition of the An Taisce newsletter said: “This month saw a generous €5,000 donation coming from Indaver.
“We see that this donation is a purely altruistic gesture and we thank Indaver for its support. The money will be put to good use.”
An Taisce heritage officer, Ian Lumley, said complaints were “spurious” because it had objected to three planning applications by Tesco and to Indaver incinerators in Meath and Cork.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved