Regulator against plan to employ only local builders

by Padraig Conlon

A South Dublin County Council (SDCC) proposal requiring construction companies employ local workers for projects in Tallaght has been opposed.

The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has questioned the legality of the council’s proposal, contained in the draft Tallaght Town Centre Local Area Plan 2020-2026, that it should include a “local employment clause” for developments in Tallaght.

Following an examination of the LAP the planning regulator has gone so far as to request SDCC withdraw the proposal.

The council claims construction companies should employ local labourers and apprentices for any projects in the area, through partnership with the council, Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education Training Board, and other stakeholders.

The reason the council have given for included the proposal is due to the high unemployment rate of 33% in parts of Tallaght.

The OPR said: “There is no legislative basis under the Planning and Development Act for the attachment of such a policy or objective.

“The wording of the draft amendment is aspirational rather than directive and likely to result in confusion as to its actual requirements.”

As per the OPR report the proposal was “contrary to accepted best practice, insofar as planning authorities should not include aspirational objectives on matters over which they had no powers.”

While noting the merit in the spirit of the proposal, the OPR however said it was essential that “any policies or objectives in the draft local area plan had a statutory basis.”

In conclusion the regulator recommended that South Dublin County Council omit the proposal from their draft Tallaght Local Area Plan.

According to the council, the purpose of the Tallaght LAP is “to guide the future growth of Tallaght over the next 6 years and beyond.”

The LAP focuses on the Tallaght Town Centre, which consists of eight ‘neighbourhood areas’: The Centre (Square and surrounding areas), Cookstown, the Village, Broomhill, Greenhills, TUD Tallaght Campus, Whitestown and the Town Park (Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght Stadium).

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