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30 2000

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT ACT, 2000

Chapter II

Organisation, Staffing, etc.

Performance of Board.

109. —(1) The Board shall supply the Minister with such information relating to the performance of its functions as he or she may from time to time request.

(2) (a) The Board shall conduct, at such intervals as it thinks fit or the Minister directs, reviews of its organisation and of the systems and procedures used by it in relation to appeals and referrals.

(b) Where the Minister gives a direction under this section, the Board shall report to the Minister the results of the review conducted pursuant to the direction and shall comply with any directive which the Minister may, after consultation with the Board as regards those results, give in relation to all or any of the matters which were the subject of the review.

(3) The Board may make submissions to the Minister as regards any matter pertaining to its functions.

(4) The Minister may consult with the Board as regards any matter pertaining to the performance of—

(a) the functions of the Board, or

(b) the functions assigned to the Minister by or under this Act or by any other enactment or by any order, regulation or other instrument thereunder.

Chairperson to ensure efficient discharge of business of Board, etc.

110. —(1) It shall be the function of the chairperson, or, where he or she is not available or where the office of chairperson is vacant, of the deputy chairperson—

(a) to ensure the efficient discharge of the business of the Board, and

(b) to arrange the distribution of the business of the Board among its members.

(2) Where the chairperson is of the opinion that the conduct of an ordinary member has been such as to bring the Board into disrepute or has been prejudicial to the effective performance by the Board of all or any one or more of its functions, he or she may in his or her absolute discretion—

(a) require the member of the Board to attend for interview and there interview the member privately and inform him or her of such opinion, or

(b) where he or she considers it appropriate to do so, otherwise investigate the matter,

and, if he or she considers it appropriate to do so, report to the Minister the result of the interview or investigation.

Meetings and procedure of Board.

111. —(1) The Board shall hold such and so many meetings as may be necessary for the performance of its functions.

(2) The chairperson and each ordinary member at a meeting of the Board shall have a vote.

(3) At a meeting of the Board—

(a) the chairperson shall, if present, be chairperson of the meeting,

(b) if the chairperson is not present the deputy chairperson shall, if present, be chairperson of the meeting, and

(c) if neither the chairperson nor the deputy chairperson is present, the ordinary members who are present shall choose one of their number to be chairperson of the meeting.

(4) Every question at a meeting of the Board relating to the performance of its functions shall be determined by a majority of votes of the members present and, in the event that voting is equally divided, the person who is chairperson of the meeting shall have a casting vote.

(5) (a) Subject to this Act, and to any regulations made thereunder, and subject also to any other enactment or order, regulation or other instrument thereunder, which regulates or otherwise affects the procedure of the Board, the Board shall regulate its own procedure and business.

(b) The Minister may require the Board to keep him or her informed of the arrangements made under this subsection for the regulation of its procedure and business.

(6) (a) Subject to paragraph (b) and (c), the Board may perform any of its functions through or by any member of the Board or other person who has been duly authorised by the Board in that behalf.

(b) Paragraph (a) shall be construed as enabling a member of the Board finally to determine points of detail relating to a decision on a particular case if the case to which an authorisation under that paragraph relates has been considered at a meeting of the Board prior to the giving of the authorisation and that determination shall conform to the terms of that authorisation.

(c) Paragraph (a) shall not be construed as enabling the Board to authorise a person who is not a member of the Board finally to determine any particular case with which the Board is concerned.

(7) The Board shall arrange to keep a written record of all its decisions including the names of those present at a meeting of the Board and the number of those persons who vote for or against those decisions.

Divisions of Board.

112. —(1) Whenever the Minister or the chairperson considers that, for the speedy dispatch of the business of the Board, it is expedient that the Board should act by divisions, he or she may direct accordingly, and until that direction is revoked—

(a) the chairperson shall assign to each division the business to be transacted by it, and

(b) for the purpose of the business so assigned to it, each division shall have all the function of the Board.

(2) A division of the Board shall consist of not less than 3 members of the Board.

(3) The chairperson, or in his or her absence, a person acting as chairperson of a meeting of a division of the Board, may at any stage before a decision is made, transfer the consideration of any appeal or referral from the division to a meeting of all available members of the Board, where the chairperson considers the appeal or referral to be of particular complexity or significance.

Prohibition on disclosure of information relating to functions of Board.

113. —(1) No person shall, without the consent of the Board (which may be given to the person, subject to or without conditions, as regards any information, as regards particular information or as regards information of a particular class or description), disclose—

(a) any information obtained by him or her while serving as a member or employee of, or consultant or adviser to, the Board or as a person whose services are availed of by the Board by virtue of section 120 (2) or 122, or

(b) any information so obtained relative to the business of the Board or to the performance of its functions.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence.

(3) Nothing in subsection (1) shall prevent—

(a) disclosure of information in a report made to the Board or in a report made by or on behalf of the Board to the Minister,

(b) disclosure of information by any person in the course of and in accordance with the functions of his or her office,

(c) disclosure of information in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, 1997 , or

(d) disclosure of information in accordance with the European Communities Act, 1972 (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations, 1998, and any regulations amending or replacing those regulations.

Prohibition of certain communications in relation to appeals, etc.

114. —(1) Any person who communicates with the chairperson, an ordinary member, an employee of, or consultant or adviser to, the Board or a person whose services are availed of by the Board by virtue of section 120 (2) or 122 for the purpose of influencing improperly the consideration of an appeal or referral or a decision of the Board as regards any matter shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) If the chairperson or an ordinary member or an employee of, or consultant or adviser to, the Board or a person whose services are availed of by the Board by virtue of section 120 (2) or 122, becomes of the opinion that a communication is in contravention of subsection (1), it shall be his or her duty not to entertain the communication further and shall disclose the communication to the Board.

Indemnification of members and employees of Board and other persons.

115. —Where the Board is satisfied that a member of the Board, an employee of the Board or a person whose services are provided to the Board under section 120 (2), 122 or 124(1) has discharged his or her duties in relation to the functions of the Board in a bona fide manner, it shall indemnify the member, employee or person against all actions or claims howsoever arising in respect of the discharge by him or her of his or her duties.

Grants to Board.

116. —There may, subject to such conditions, if any, as the Minister thinks proper, be paid to the Board in each financial year out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas a grant or grants of such amount or amounts as the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance and after consultation with the Board in relation to its programme of expenditure for that year, may fix.

Accounts and audits of Board.

117. —(1) The Board shall keep in such form as may be approved by the Minister, after consultation with the Minister for Finance, all proper and usual accounts of all moneys received or expended by it.

(2) Accounts kept under this section shall be submitted by the Board to the Comptroller and Auditor General for audit at such times as the Minister shall direct and, when audited shall, together with the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General, be presented to the Minister who shall cause copies to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.

Annual report and information to Minister.

118. —The Board shall, not later than the 30th day of June in each year, make a report to the Minister of its proceedings during the preceding year and the Minister shall cause copies of the report to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.

Superannuation of members of Board.

119. —(1) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, make a scheme or schemes for the granting of pensions, gratuities or other allowances to or in respect of the chairperson and ordinary members ceasing to hold office.

(2) A scheme under this section may provide that the termination of the appointment of the chairperson or of an ordinary member during that person's term of office shall not preclude the award to him or her under the scheme of a pension, gratuity or other allowance.

(3) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, amend a scheme made by him or her under this section.

(4) If any dispute arises as to the claim of any person to, or the amount of, any pension, gratuity, or allowance payable in pursuance of a scheme under this section, the dispute shall be submitted to the Minister who shall refer it to the Minister for Finance, whose decision shall be final.

(5) A scheme under this section shall be carried out by the Board in accordance with its terms.

(6) No pension, gratuity or other allowance shall be granted by the Board to or in respect of any person referred to in subsection (1) ceasing to hold office otherwise than in accordance with a scheme under this section.

(7) Every scheme made under this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and if either such House, within the next 21 days on which that House has sat after the scheme is laid before it, passes a resolution annulling the scheme, the scheme shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

Employees of Board.

120. —(1) The Board shall appoint such and so many persons to be employees of the Board as the Board, subject to the approval of the Minister, given with the consent of the Minister for Finance, as to the number and kind of those employees, from time to time considers appropriate, having regard to the need to ensure that an adequate number of staff are competent in the Irish language so as to be able to provide service through Irish as well as English.

(2) The Board may employ a person in a part-time capacity to be remunerated by the payment of fees in such amounts as the Board may, with the approval of the Minister, given with the consent of the Minister for Finance, from time to time determine.

(3) An employee of the Board shall hold his or her employment on such terms and conditions as the Board, subject to the approval of the Minister, from time to time determines.

(4) There shall be paid by the Board to its employees out of moneys at its disposal such remuneration and allowances as the Board, subject to the approval of the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, from time to time determines.

Superannuation of employees of Board.

121. —(1) The Board shall prepare and submit to the Minister for his or her approval, a scheme or schemes for the granting of pensions, gratuities and other allowances on retirement or death to or in respect of such whole-time employees of the Board as it considers appropriate.

(2) The Board may, at any time, prepare and submit to the Minister a scheme amending a scheme under this section.

(3) Where a scheme is submitted to the Minister pursuant to this section, the Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, approve the scheme without modification or with such modification (whether by way of addition, omission or variation) as the Minister shall, with such consent, think proper.

(4) A scheme submitted to the Minister under this section shall, if approved of by the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, be carried out by the Board in accordance with its terms.

(5) A scheme approved of under this section shall fix the time and conditions of retirement for all persons to or in respect of whom pensions, gratuities or other allowances are payable under the scheme, and different times and conditions may be fixed in respect of different classes of persons.

(6) If any dispute arises as to the claim of any person to, or the amount of, any pension, gratuity or other allowance payable in pursuance of a scheme under this section, the dispute shall be submitted to the Minister who shall refer it to the Minister for Finance, whose decision shall be final.

(7) Every scheme approved of under this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is approved of and if either House within the next 21 days on which that House has sat after the scheme is laid before it, passes a resolution annulling the scheme, the scheme shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

Provision of services by Minister to Board.

122. —(1) For the purposes of enabling the Board to perform its functions, the Minister may provide services (including services of staff) to the Board on such terms and conditions (including payment for such services) as may be agreed and the Board may avail of such services.

(2) The Board may provide services (including services of staff) to the Minister on such terms and conditions (including payment for such services) as may be agreed and the Minister may avail of such services.

Membership of either House of the Oireachtas, etc.

123. —(1) Where a person who is an employee of the Board is nominated as a member of Seanad …ireann or for election to either House of the Oireachtas or the European Parliament, or is regarded pursuant to Part XIII of the Second Schedule to the European Parliament Elections Act, 1997 , as having been elected to that Parliament to fill a vacancy, or becomes a member of a local authority, he or she shall stand seconded from employment by the Board and shall not be paid by, or be entitled to receive from, the Board any remuneration or allowances—

(a) in case he or she is nominated as a member of Seanad …ireann in respect of the period commencing on his or her acceptance of the nomination and ending when he or she ceases to be a member of that House,

(b) in case he or she is nominated for election to either such House or to the European Parliament, or is regarded as having been elected to the European Parliament, in respect of the period commencing on his or her nomination or appointment and ending when he or she ceases to be a member of that House or Parliament or fails to be elected or withdraws his or her candidature, as may be appropriate, or

(c) in case he or she becomes a member of a local authority, in respect of the period commencing on his or her becoming a member of the local authority and ending when he or she ceases to be a member of that authority.

(2) A person who is for the time being entitled under the Standing Orders of either House of the Oireachtas to sit therein or is a member of the European Parliament shall, while he or she is so entitled or is such a member, be disqualified from becoming an employee of the Board.

(3) A person who is for the time being a member of a local authority shall, while holding office as such member, be disqualified from becoming an employee of the Board.

Consultants and advisers to Board.

124. —(1) The Board may from time to time engage such consultants or advisers as it considers necessary for the performance of its functions and any fees due to a consultant or adviser engaged pursuant to this section shall be paid by the Board out of moneys at its disposal.

(2) The Board shall include in each report made under section 118 a statement of the names of the persons (if any) engaged pursuant to this section during the year to which the report relates.