I propose to take Questions Nos. 1555 and 1572 together.
On 12 March 2019, I received a statement of case from Sligo County Council that Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest (IROPI) exist in respect of a planning application for the upgrade to the existing water treatment plant at Lough Talt, County Sligo. The statement of case submitted by Sligo County Council pursuant to Section 177AA of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, relates to a planning application received by the Council on 28 May 2018 (Sligo County Council planning application details ref: 18210).
In accordance with Section 177AB of the 2000 Act, I requested the views of the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in respect of this matter on 14 March 2019 . On 18 April 2019 I received an opinion from the Minister confirming that the compensatory measures proposed in the statement of case submitted by Sligo County Council are sufficient to ensure the overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network is protected. On the basis of details provided therein, on 30 April 2019 I notified Sligo County Council of that opinion, in accordance with section 177AB(3) of the 2000 Act. Under section 177AB(6) of the 2000 Act, Sligo County Council must make this notice available for inspection by members of the public during office hours at the office of the authority, and I note that the Council have also published the notice, as well as the correspondence referred to above, on their website, at the following link: www.sligococo.ie/PublicNotices/IrishWaterPlanningapplication-Update/.
I understand that on 2 May 2019, Sligo County Council made the decision to grant permission, with conditions, in respect of the aforementioned planning application (ref: 18210). Regarding the timeframe for development, this will be a matter for Irish Water, having regard also to whether the Council's decision of 2 May 2019 is the subject of any appeal to An Bord Pleanála.
Furthermore, in accordance with section 177AB(5) of the 2000 Act, I will presently inform the European Commission of the notice to Sligo County Council as issued on 30 April 2019, including the compensatory measures proposed.