Publication of the Galway County Development Plan 2022-2028

Galway County Council Plan 2022-2028 was adopted by the Elected Members of Galway County Council at the conclusion of the Special Meeting on the 9th May 2022 and came into effect on the 20 June 2022. In accordance with national policy, the plan is seeking to develop in a sustainable and environmentally sensitive manner. It promotes the climate change agenda and it sets out the housing and economic priorities for the relevant period.

The new development plan can be viewed here

Galway Hydrogen Hub

Galway Hydrogen Hub (GH2) is a consortium consisting of seven members: NUI Galway, the Port of Galway, CIÉ Group and Bus Éireann, Aran Islands Ferries, Lasta Mara Teo, Aer Arann Islands, and SSE Renewables. The GH2 is proposing a new zero emissions green hydrogen fuel facility developed at Galway Harbour, positioning Galway as the home of Ireland’s first hydrogen valley.

The GH2 project objective is to manufacture hydrogen from green electricity and utilise in the transport sector to provide a zero emission solution for buses, cars, marine, aviation and other sectors.

A Public Consultation meeting was held in the Harbour Hotel, Galway on 23 June and 24 June 2022. The challenge to maintain secure and affordable supplies of energy whilst cutting carbon emissions was discussed, along with the benefits of the GH2 project, the planning process and other ancillary details.

The Virtual Consultation Room with information on the project can be found online here

New draft solar panel planning exemptions

A public consultation has been launched by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in respect of a review of the solar panel planning exemptions set out in the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 (the Principal Regulations), with a particular focus on facilitating increased self generation of electricity.

Draft regulations have been prepared which propose the removal of the rooftop square metre based limits which currently apply in the Principal Regulations, and to instead allow more extensive coverage, subject to certain conditions as well as restrictions in certain areas.

In light of the potential threat to aviation safety arising from increased solar development, 43 solar safeguarding zones have been identified within which a rooftop square metre will continue to apply to all classes of development other than houses. Solar installations covering the entire roof of houses in all parts of the country, including those within solar safeguarding zones, are proposed to be exempted under these draft regulations subject to conditions requiring the installation to be a minimum distance from the edge of the roof.

Notwithstanding the introduction of solar safeguarding zones for all classes of development other than houses, the rooftop square metre limit within these areas has been increased to 60sqm. It is open to anyone seeking to avail of larger rooftop solar installations within solar safeguarding zones to apply for planning permission.

Written submissions in respect of the proposed regulations are welcome until 5pm on 13 July 2022 and can be made via email to or by post to Solar SEA Submissions Planning Policy and Legislation Section, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Custom House, Dublin 1, D01 W6X0

€500 million development funding boost for five cities

The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has stated it has plans to invest €500 million of post-COVID financing in Ireland’s five regional cities: Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Kilkenny. The four pillars of the ISIF programme focus on housing and infrastructure, climate, scaling businesses, and food and agriculture, to help focus investment and resources by addressing the most critical challenges that are facing the state.

This includes funding the delivery of 25,000 new homes by 2030 through a range of equity and debt investments. This follows ISIF’s previous commitment to invest €950 million in housing to deliver 16,000 new homes in the coming years. The overall goal of this investment programme is to create new places to live and work in the cities.

Historic first approval for offshore wind onshore infrastructure

An Bord Pleanála approved SSE Renewables’ proposed onshore grid infrastructure needed to connect the 800-megawatt second phase of its Arklow Bank offshore wind park to the republic’s electricity transmission grid. The consent also includes an underground cable route and associated infrastructure connecting the substation t the landfall point at Johnstown North, Arklow, where it will meet the planned subsea offshore cables connecting to the wind farm. This is a historic first for Ireland’s wind sector, making SSE renewable the first energy company to secure such planning permission.

The consent came just after ahead of the company’s forthcoming application for a Maritime Area Consent, which would allow them to proceed to apply for planning permission for the project’s offshore infrastructure, including wind turbines, substation platforms and subsea cables.

The project is expected to require an investment of up to €2.5 billion, and depending on the final investment decision, it is expected to deliver first power in 2028 and completion in 2029.

Open consultations on statutory plans

Galway County Development Plan 2022-2028

Galway County Development Plan came into effect on the 20 June 2022. On 16 June, the Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, consequent to a recommendation made to him by the Office of the Planning Regulator has delivered notice of the Minister’s intent to issue a Direction to Galway County Council.

Written submissions or observations, in respect of the Draft Direction may be made to the Council between 23rd of June 2022 to 4pm on 8th July 2022. All submissions can be made online, via the Council’s Public Consultation Portal  using the ‘Make a Submission’ link, via email to or by post to Draft Direction to the Galway County Development Plan 2022-2028 Planning Department, Galway County Council, Áras an Chontae, Prospect Hill, Galway

Draft local area plan for Rathkeale – Limerick City and County Council

Limerick City and County Council has prepared a Draft Local Area Plan (LAP) for Rathkeale. The Draft Rathkeale LAP 2023-2029 and its maps may be inspected between 18 June 2022 and 2 August 2022 (inclusive).

Submissions and observations are welcome during this period, and can be made online at, via email to or by post to Forward Planning, Economic Development and Enterprise Directorate, Limerick City and County Council, Merchants Quay, Limerick.