The Minister for Housing accused of trying to avoid scrutiny as he tries to push through the NMPF
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien has been accused of trying to avoid further scrutiny as tries to push through the National Marine Planning Framework, without a complete consultation with the Housing Committee.
A public consultation on the NMPF was launched in 2019. At the time of the consultation launch, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government said that the NMPF was Ireland’s first marine planning framework and it applies to a broad range of marine activities including aquaculture, offshore renewable energy, sea fisheries and tourism.
The Department promised that the NMPF would provide a long-term framework for effective management of marine activities and more sustainable use of our marine resources, but since then many are starting to believe that the Minister and his Department are trying to circumvent the full scrutiny of the proposed legislation by pushing it through without discussing it in detail at the Óireachtas Housing Committee.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD, criticised Minister Darragh O’ Brien TD, stating that; “once again the Minister has shown complete disregard for the role of the Oireachtas Housing Committee, as he seeks to avoid additional scrutiny of the Marine Planning Framework.”
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“The Marine Planning Framework is a hugely complex and important piece of work and yet again Minister O’ Brien is seeking to gazump the Committee by denying both Committee scrutiny and a full Dáil debate.
“It is imperative that Committee schedules time for the eNGOs focused on marine biodiversity and from Inshore Fishermen to hear their views on the Framework.
“Members of the Committee want to facilitate further scrutiny but Minister O’ Brien initially attempted to block further scrutiny by bringing the Marine Planning Framework to the Dáil without debate.
“I understand that Government have offered a 45-minute debate for Thursday, but this is unacceptable as it would not provide enough time to address the complexities of the Framework. It also does not facilitate additional committee hearings from key stakeholders.
“This is not good enough again from the Minister for Housing. We need additional Committee scrutiny and a full Dáil debate on this important planning framework.”