Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív has welcomed confirmation that the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage are examining a move to eplanning systems and that a circular letter could soon be issued to all Planning Authorities on this matter.   

In response to a Parliamentary Question submitted by Deputy Ó Cuív the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage said they are “examining the feasibility of accelerating the development and roll-out of eplanning nationwide to all planning authorities as early as possible”.   

Deputy Ó Cuív said, “I welcome the confirmation that plans for the electronic submission of planning applications is being expedited. It is ridiculous that up to now three copies of each planning application had to be submitted and that the local authorities had to then scan the documentation on to the system, often losing quality in the process.  We will be living with public health measures for a long time before an effective vaccine is developed for COVID-19. We must use this time to encourage as much digital practises in real world scenarios as is practical taking into account the right of people to interact non-electronically with the state.  This includes the submission of planning permission applications.   

“Such a move to an eplanning system will minimise unnecessary interaction between those submitting applications and Officials in Planning Departments. Reducing in person contacts while ensuring the planning process becomes more streamlined will be a positive development for all. It will have knock on benefits for the applicants and their agents.   

“I understand there is further development and testing of the new eplanning system to be done. Following this a circular letter will be issued to all Planning Authorities on the deployment of the new online planning application process,” concluded Deputy Ó Cuív.