More from Dick on tyranny and An Taisce. I have a feeling he misunderstands my argument. Let us set aside An Taisce for a moment and imagine a society in which red-haired people were subject to arbitrary restrictions. Now, from the perspective of a red-haired person, he is subject to a tyranny. This does not change, whether redheads compose 80% of the population or 0.4% Thus An Taisce may or may not be acting tyrannically but drawing attention to the numbers of people affected doesn’t prove or disprove this.
As for An Taisce and planning, Dick writes:
If you accept that planning should be regulated, as I’m sure most people do, you must also accept that in some instances planning applications will be rejected.
I wouldn’t be so sure “most people” do accept this, but yes, while there is planning regulation, some will be rejected.
Just who should decide on these things is open to debate
Well, not really. Under the planning act, the local authority prepares a development plan every five years. When an application is submitted, planning officers prepare a report recommending approval or refusal and are bound by the provisions of that development plan. The county manager or town clerk makes the final decision, which usually conforms to the planning office’s report. This may be overruled by the elected councillors, who, after all, bear theoretical responsibility for the development plan. Should an applicant, or a third party who has expressed an opinion on the application, wish to appeal the decision they may appeal to An Bord Pleanala.
An appeal to Bord Pleanala is a bit of a crap shoot. It can go either way. Most of the time they are loath to contradict the local authority’s decision. An Taisce’s role in this is that of the third party. What they tend to do is appeal decisions that would otherwise have been accepted by the applicant and all third parties directly affected.
(and An Taisce and Duchas do very different things).
That’s correct, Duchas do all the things that Dick assumed An Taisce do: conservation, protection of wildlife areas, archaeological remains and buildings of architectural and historical interest. An Taisce is mainly a lobbying group
However, the figures reveal that the current regime is not overly hindering building development in this country.
Whether building development is hindered by the current regime is neither here nor there. The issue is the extent to which people may build their own house on their own land - and the extent to which this may be arbitrarily scuppered not by neighbours or the local authority but by a Dublin-based organisation which seeks an beautifully empty countryside - and not the efficacy of our construction industry as a whole.
Frank’s argument only applies if he believes that all planning regulation is wrong. He’s hardly saying that is he
The arguments about the nature of tyranny or the extent to which An Taisce and their depopulated rural idyll ideal should be taken seriously stand independent of the merits of planning regulation, but as it happens I am in favour of deregulating planning permission. I set out some of my arguments about this in the comments to this post at Samizdata.