The public will have additional time to participate in the planning process, under a proposal drafted by the Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and passed by the Cabinet today. 

In a statement, Mr Murphy said due to Covid-19, and the new restrictions on the movement of people, there would now be a three-week extension to the public participation periods in the planning system.

He said he hoped the plan would mean that the "integrity of decision making is upheld" while also ensuring that "plan-making for new development can continue." 

The new measures were contained in the emergency legislation which was passed by the Dáil and Seanad last week, and given approval by an incorporeal cabinet meeting this afternoon. 

The orders made by the Minister will now add 23 days to the statutory time periods for processing planning applications under the Planning Acts. 

If an application was lodged before 21 February 2020, the public participation phase is completed, and so a planning authority can make a decision within the extended deadline.

If an application was lodged after that date, but before 29 March 2020, the decision cannot be made until after 20 April 2020 to ensure that the public participation element has been completed.

If an application is lodged after 29 March 2020, it cannot be decided by the Planning Authority until the five-week period for public consultation on the application commences, which will now be after 20 April 2020.