Clare County Councillors have voted unanimously to defer the completion of the County Development Plan by seven months.
The motion, proposed by Fianna Fáil Councillor Cillian Murphy, and signed by 10 other councillors, called for the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on public consultation to be taken into account.
A special meeting of Clare County Council was held yesterday afternoon, dedicated specifically to a single motion calling for the extension of the current County Development Plan.
Proposed by Kilkee Councillor Cillian Murphy and supported by ten other councillors, the motion is based on the new Amendment to the Planning Development Bill (2021), which allows elected representatives to defer completion of the County Development Plan if they receive a majority support from the council.
Cillian Murphy asked his fellow councillors to consider an extension of up to 12 months in order to allow more time for the community and public representatives to fully engage in preparing the new plan – which will cover the period up until 2028.
The call was widely supported by the members of the council, with Corofin Councillor Joe Killeen even pointing towards the technological issues and issues with connection experienced during the virtual meeting as proof that Covid-19 has hampered the public’s ability to have their say on important matters.
While the motion was unanimously supported, a number of councillors expressed their concerns about deferring the plan.
Councillors Johnny Flynn, Pat Burke, and Paul Murphy reluctantly agreed to support the call if it was the wish of the group as a whole, but expressed their worry about the impact this may have on Ennis’ local area plan and the Ennis 2040 plan.
The meeting ended in resolution as the local representatives agreed to defer the plan by seven months in order to allow for full engagement in developing the plan for 2022-2028.