The Deputy Chairman of An Bord Pleanála Paul Hyde, who has agreed to absent himself temporarily from his duties, will not attend the organisation's offices and will not have access to its electronic systems or documents, the Taoiseach has told the Dáil.

Micheál Martin said Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien had been made aware of correspondence between Mr Hyde and the secretary of the planning board, which was separate to other allegations.

He said this correspondence had been brought to the Department of Housing's attention by the An Bord Pleanála chairperson and "the concerns of a conflict of interest disclosed by Mr Hyde on the 3rd of May 2022 in relation to a May 2021 board decision".

In a statement earlier today, the planning appeals body said it noted a recent statement from Minister O'Brien, announcing that he has appointed Senior Counsel Remy Farrell to prepare a report over "certain allegations in relation to a board member of An Bord Pleanála, allegations which have been denied by the board member concerned".

It said that, "in the context of these ongoing processes", Mr Hyde has agreed with the chairperson "to absent himself from his duties as Deputy Chairperson for the time being, on a strictly without prejudice basis".

The statement added that the board "is also reviewing, and is seeking legal advice in respect of, certain issues arising from these matters".

An Bord Pleanála said it will fully cooperate as required with the process announced by Minister O'Brien.

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In the Dáil this afternoon, the Taoiseach was questioned on the matter by opposition TDs.

Social Democrats TD Cian O'Callaghan asked if the Minister for Housing would make a statement to the Dáil on the decision by Mr Hyde to temporarily step aside.

Richard Boyd Barrett, Solidarity-PBP, said: "It puts very, very serious questions over the governance and integrity of An Bord Pleanála."

Mr Martin said that the report into An Bord Pleannála should be completed before Minister O'Brien addresses the Dáil on the matter.

The Taoiseach told the Dáil: "Separate to the allegations that have been made, Minister O'Brien has also been made aware of correspondence between the deputy chairmanship of ABP, Mr Paul Hyde, and the board secretary, which was brought to his department's attention by the chairperson of ABP and the concerns of a conflict of interest disclosed by Mr Hyde on the 3rd of May 2022 in relation to a May 2021 board decision.

"Mr Hyde said in his correspondence he only became aware of a conflict of interest on the 28th of April 2022. Minister O'Brien requested a report from the chairperson of ABP when he became aware of this matter on the 6th of May 2022.

"The chairperson responded to the minister on Monday the 9th of May that Mr Hyde had agreed to absent himself from the duties as deputy chairperson for the time being, on a strictly without prejudice basis, pending completion of the chairperson's analysis of the matters raised.

"In this context, Mr Hyde will not be in attendance at the board's offices, have access to the board's electronic systems or documentation, and his case files have been reassigned to ensure the efficient discharge of the functions of the board."

Mr Martin said the examination should be completed, "and then by all means have a debate and the minister come before the [Dáil] in relation to it".