The Cabinet has passed the Planning and Development Bill, which seeks to make the planning system capable of delivering faster decisions while also being easier to navigate for the public and construction industry.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he wanted to reduce the number of vexatious judicial reviews, adding that faster decisions and more timely reviews would flow from the reforms.

Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien said that the legislation would be published in the coming days.

Speaking at a news conference after the Cabinet meeting, Mr O'Brien said that he anticipated there would be further amendments as it progressed through the Oireachtas.

He said that while the target had been for the legislation to be passed before the end of the year, it was possible it may flow into 2024.

The bill, believed to run to more than 700 pages, is the third largest piece of legislation in the history of the State.

Minister O'Brien contended it will bring clarity, certainty and consistency to the planning system.

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It includes a significant restructuring of An Bord Pleanála, which changes its name to An Coimisiún Pleanála, and there will be statutory mandatory timelines for all consent processes, including appeals.

The most controversial aspect of the legislation relates to what the Government calls a more "streamlined process" for taking judicial reviews, with all applicants first having to have exhausted any available appeal procedures.

Residents’ associations can take a judicial review if it materially affects their neighbourhood, so long as: they have a constitution; take a vote of their members on whether to proceed with a review; two thirds of those voting agree to proceed with it; and the names and addresses of those in favour are filed with the application.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said he was confident that the legislation would protect public participation and access to justice, which is a crucial issue for Green Party members.

He expressed confidence that it would abide by both EU directives and the Aarhus Convention.

Sinn Féin's housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said the bill represented an important opportunity to get planning right.

However, he expressed concern that the Government risked making the planning system "worse" if it ignored the "very many concerns" raised by opposition politicians and a wide range of stakeholders raised at Oireachtas Committee meetings earlier this year.

He said: "In recent years, the chronic under resourcing of our planning system coupled with ill-conceived and rushed changes to planning law by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have undermined public confidence in the planning system. This was made worse by the scandal surrounding An Bord Pleanála in 2022.

"The consequences of these failed policies and poor management can be seen in poorer quality planning decisions, increased conflicts between different layers of the planning system, long delays in planning decision times and increased litigation."

At a news conference after this morning's Cabinet meeting, Mr Varadkar said that the Government was providing substantial additional funding to ensure that there were enough experts, both at local authority level and at An Bord Pleanála, to ensure timely decisions.

He added that the creation of an environmental division of the High Court would also ensure that appeals could be dealt with in a timely fashion and the process speeded up.

Mr O'Brien said that expanding the lifespan of development plans from six to ten years would ensure that they were more strategic in nature and assist the public in knowing what was being proposed.