A confidential report compiled for An Bord Pleanála has cleared the organisation’s director of planning of wrongdoing following a series of damning media allegations.
The investigation, carried out by IR consultants Resolve into Rachel Kenny, was one of a number commissioned to examine and respond to the major controversies that have dogged the board for nearly a year.
It was sectioned off from a general internal review examining all the other allegations and its existence was initially kept within a tight circle at An Bord Pleanála.
The investigation examined four cases in which it was alleged that Ms Kenny had a conflict of interest which could have impinged on the board’s independence.
One case involved her direct involvement in a planning application in her general neighbourhood, while the other three concerned cases in which her former husband was part of an applicant team for planning permission.
The investigation found that in each of the cases either the circumstances or the extent of her involvement was misrepresented by media outlet, The Ditch website.
The investigator, Miriam Maher, found that the articles “misrepresented the facts involved in the cases overall…Presented as they were, it is understandable that these articles created some concerns which led to this review being conducted”.
“I consider that to be very unfortunate given the impact of such articles on all involved and the difficulties in getting a rebuttal narrative adequately communicated," Ms Maher stated.
A spokesperson for The Ditch said that Ms Kenny never responded to their requests for comment for the articles, nor has she ever subsequently raised objections to the veracity of the reports.
The spokesperson said it had not been contacted by the external consultant hired by ABP to investigate the allegations and said it stood over its reporting.
Last October, thepublished details of the internal review which excluded the allegations against Ms Kenny.
Subsequent to that, then chair of An Bord Pleanála Dave Walsh took early retirement.
On Wednesday, The Ditch published the full report, which confirmed a range of issues around malpractice and conflicts of interest, first raised in theand on The Ditch.