Planning authorities such as Cork City Council are responsible for operating Ireland’s planning enforcement system, under Part VIII of the Planning and Development Act 2000.
Planning enforcement relates only to matters of ‘unauthorised development’, which is a specific and particular term defined in the Act.
Under the Irish planning system development can be lawfully carried out:
- in compliance with a planning permission granted by a planning authority or An Bord Pleanála and any and all conditions to which that permission is subject, or
- in the case of exempted development, where planning permission is not required but in accordance with the terms of the exemption set out in legislation.
Development which requires planning permission and does not have permission, or which has permission but is not carried out in compliance with that permission or any condition to which that permission is subject, falls within the definition of ‘unauthorised development’.
The carrying out of unauthorised development is an offence.
Anyone can make a planning enforcement complaint. The process that must be followed is laid down in planning law. Details of this process can be found in the Planning Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions. It is important that all complaints are made in writing, preferably using the Cork City Council Planning Enforcement Complaint Form, and that a minimum level of detail is provided.
A hard copy of the Planning Enforcement Complaint Form is also available at the Planning public counter which is open to members of the public from 10 AM until 4 PM Mondays to Fridays on the ground floor of the New Civic Offices at City Hall, Anglesea Street, Cork. This is also available by post upon request
As some developments may, over time, gain immunity under law from planning enforcement action (normally after 7 years), it is important that all suspected unauthorised developments are reported as soon as possible.
Before making a planning enforcement complaint, please ensure Cork City Council is the appropriate planning authority.
For details relating to making a complaint, the procedure that is followed and time limits involved, penalties for breaching planning laws, and other information, please refer to the Planning Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions.
Any person making a planning enforcement complaint should be aware that comments involving allegations of any kind against a named or otherwise identifiable person or organisation may be viewed as defamatory by the subject of such comments.
A person may be sued directly for any defamatory allegations / comments in any complaint. Accordingly, people should avoid making such allegations / comments when making a complaint. In the event that legal action is taken against the Planning Authority as a result of potentially defamatory allegations / comments, the Planning Authority will seek an indemnity from the person / people who made such allegations / comments in relation to such legal action.