Still no publication date for planning corruption report completed five years ago 

Still no publication date for planning corruption report completed five years ago 

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien has said he is still considering the report due to the fact that it 'details unproven allegations against named individuals'. 

A report into alleged planning corruption in Donegal has no timeline for publication even as it approaches the fifth anniversary of its completion.

The Mulcahy Report was completed in June 2017 but has not been published, despite changes of minister and government.

Senior Counsel Rory Mulcahy was appointed in 2015 to conduct a review into allegations by whistleblower Gerard Convie that there were severe irregularities in the local council's planning department in the early 2000s.

Mr Convie had challenged the findings of an internal review into his allegations, which questioned his motives, in the High Court and in 2013 the Department of Environment had to withdraw the review, overturn the findings, and apologise to Mr Convie.

However, Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien has said that he is still considering the report due to the fact that it "details unproven allegations against named individuals". 

He cited refusals by both the Commissioner for Environmental Information and the Information Commissioner to grant access to the report.

A Department of Housing spokesperson said: "The minister is considering the report, entitled 'A Review Into Certain Planning Matters in Respect of Donegal County Council', by Mr Rory Mulcahy SC, and will bring this matter to Government for consideration in due course. 

This relates to a number of allegations made by a former employee of Donegal County Council, relating to certain planning decisions from the 1990s, against named individuals then employed by Donegal County Council. 

"Mr Mulcahy had been commissioned to carry out a scoping review of the allegations against these named individuals. As it was a scoping review, Mr Mulcahy did not form any conclusion as to the truth or otherwise of those allegations in his report, which are unproven," the spokesperson said.

However, Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said the report should be made public immediately, even if it has to be redacted. 

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said the report should be made public immediately, even if it has to be redacted. Picture: PA
Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said the report should be made public immediately, even if it has to be redacted. Picture: PA

He said the ongoing controversy around An Bord Pleanála means the report is even more timely. 

"The fact that the minister is not publishing the report says to me that the allegations are very serious and it is wholly unacceptable that data concerns are being used as grounds not to publish it," he said. "But also whatever is being recommended is very important.

"What is happening at ABP makes this even more unacceptable that it is being kept under lock and key.

"We’ve had tribunals and inquiries aimed at cleaning up the planning system, which has improved the landscape, but it is not helpful when a report like this is not released to the public. If redactions have to be made, that’s another matter."

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