An Bord Pleanála introduces new code of conduct to tighten internal rules

Move comes after former deputy chairman was convicted for failing to declare property interests

An Bord Pleanála has introduced a new code of conduct, tightening its internal rules after the conviction of its former deputy chairman Paul Hyde for failing to declare certain property interests.

The move comes as the crisis-struck planning appeals body seeks to rebuild public confidence in the wake of the turmoil set off by investigations into Hyde. He pleaded guilty last week to two charges and received a two-month prison sentence on Friday but has appealed the sentence.

In a document signed off on Thursday, An Bord Pleanála defined for the first time the “immediate neighbourhood” in which board members, planning inspectors and other staff cannot have an involvement in a case.

The move follows the disclosure last autumn that some board members considered only a single street to be off-limits while others felt they should not deal with any files in their entire county.


The new rules define “immediate neighbourhood” in an urban setting as an area within a 0.5km radius of the private home or other property interests of the Pleanála official. In rural settings, officials cannot work on cases “within a 5km radius of the private home or other property interest of that person”.

The new rules also set out to prevent any conflicts of interest in cases involving a “spouse/partner, parents, siblings, children, spouse/partner’s parents or children and partners of adult children”. They also seek to prevent conflicts in cases involving “a person who is well known on a personal basis to a board/staff member, [who] has a property or financial interest or an association with persons or organisations with close connections to the case in question”.

The chair of An Bord Pleanála will be required make a ruling in any case where doubt or queries arise.

Hyde once ruled on his sister-in-law’s planning appeal in relation to the house she co-owns with his brother but denied any wrongdoing. He claimed there was a simple explanation for failing to declare he was conflicted.

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley is Current Affairs Editor of The Irish Times