Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Niall Collins TD has called on Minister Phil Hogan to open an independent inquiry into the planning system in Waterford.  The call comes following the conviction of Fine Gael Councillor Fred Forsey for corruption in relation to planning issues.

Deputy Collins commented, “If we are serious about rebuilding faith in politics in this country, we must be vigorous in rooting out and getting to the bottom of any suggestions of corruption in public affairs.  In the case of former Fine Gael councillor Fred Forsey, we have seen the first conviction on charges of corruption in this country.  However, there has been a deafening silence from Government on the implications of what the court has found.

“Today I am calling on Minister Phil Hogan to move immediately to instigate an inquiry, independent of his Department, into the planning system in Waterford and specifically into the planning application at the centre of this controversy.  There can be no hiding place for anyone engaging in corruption.

“We know enough about this case to know that we need to find out more.  The piece of property involved here was the subject of a Garda inquiry at the time the vote was taken, but councillors proceeded to support rezoning.

“Today Minister Phil Hogan has an opportunity to show that he will learn from the findings of recent tribunals and put asid any party interests.  It is important that he takes it.”