Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Economics, Sociology, Law, Political science, public administration, Environmental sciences (social aspects, Urban studies (Planning and development), Social sciences

Publication Details

Submission to the Committee by Tom Dunne and published in the Ninth Progress Report of the All Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution in April 2004 (pages A60 to A70) Published by the Stationary Office, ISBN 0-7557-1901-8


Ireland, like many other countries with high rates of economic growth, is urbanising rapidly. There has been considerable emphasis on planning for this through the National Development Plan, the National Spatial Strategy, development guidelines and other measures. Through these the state intends that a proper planning process will lead growth rather than leaving it to market forces to drive development in what are regarded as undesirable directions. The latter it is feared will lead to unsuitable social, economic or physical outcomes. Unintended results have flowed from the implementation, or flawed implementation of many of these policies and have given rise to the issues noted by the All Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution in their recent call for submissions on a variety of problems. All planning suffers from the deficiency that it is not possible to forecast accurately what will be the circumstances that will apply during the currency of a plan or what the outcome will be. Consequently all plans must be tentative and flexible to a greater or lesser extent depending on the accuracy of the information used in the formulation process and the dynamism of the environment in which the plan will operate. Overconfidence in the efficacy of planning and a lack of proper and efficient methods to provide for the necessary flexibility could be among the explanations for the perceived failures in planning. But also the legislative framework for the planning system could contain detailed flaws that mitigate against the plans prepared and operated under it. This paper discusses issues around these and is intended as a contribution to the deliberations of the committee.