Report into management of alleged conflicts of interest at An Bord Pleanála received by Minister

Remy Farrell was asked to investigate management of disclosures by planning body’s former deputy chairman Paul Hyde

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has received a lawyer’s report into the management of alleged conflicts of interest and relevant disclosures by the former deputy chairman of An Bord Pleanála Paul Hyde.

Mr O’Brien in May appointed senior counsel Remy Farrell to investigate the matters over a six-week period. This was due to conclude at the end of June but was then extended by another five weeks.

Mr Farrell was asked to review three specific planning decisions, including a case where the board refused permission in March for a fast-track apartment scheme in Blackpool, Cork, on a site near property owned by a company in which Mr Hyde had a quarter share.

Mr Hyde’s stake in the company — controlled by his father Stephen Hyde — was never set out in his declarations of interest to the board but he insisted it there was no need to because the company was dormant and not in effect carrying on any trade even though it owned property near the site of a proposed development. He also did not disclose an interest last year in an appeal taken by his sister-in-law but said he did not know she was the appellant or that the case related to a Dublin 4 property she co-owns with his brother.


A spokesman for Mr O’Brien said the Minister wished to thank Mr Farrell and Chris Mills BL, who assisted him during the review. He said Mr O’Brien “will now consider the report and its recommendations” and that he had “furnished a copy of the report to the Attorney General for his review and advices”.

“Minister O’Brien will not be making any further comment pending consideration of the report,” he added.

Mr Hyde resigned around three weeks ago amid the review and an internal inquiry by the board into claims of impropriety in certain planning decisions and his personal declarations to the board. He had earlier stepped aside temporarily without prejudice to the inquiries.

The fact the findings are being sent to the Attorney General Paul Gallagher raises the prospect of delays before they are made public. The Minister has reserved the right to publish the report, not publish it or release it with redactions.

Mr Hyde was appointed to the board in 2014, having previously served as a member of the Marine Institute. He was promoted to deputy chair of the board and appointed chair of the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) subcommittee in 2019.