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Oral Hearings

An oral hearing is a public meeting about an An Bord Pleanála case that anyone can attend, although not everyone can participate in the discussion. The purpose of an oral hearing is to allow further discussion and examination of relevant issues that may arise in a case before An Bord Pleanála. It is not intended to be overly formal or legalistic.

What are oral hearings?

The Board has the power to decide whether or not to hold an oral hearing in any case. Oral hearings may be held for:

  • strategic infrastructure cases
  • appeal cases which are complex or where significant national, regional or local issues arise
  • compulsory purchase orders and related cases
  • other case types when considered necessary.

Only in special circumstances will an oral hearing be held for strategic housing development (SHD) applications made directly to An Bord Pleanála.

Before the Hearing

Before the oral hearing, we will be in contact with all participants in the case

Find out more about what happens before an oral hearing  

Attending the Hearing

Any member of the public can attend an oral hearing.

Find out more about who attends an oral hearing

Please note that oral hearings can take place online using Microsoft Teams. To find out how to attend a meeting or oral hearing via Microsoft Teams, please see our guidance page.

At an Oral Hearing

You can find out more about what happens at a typical oral hearing and more about what you can and cannot  do at an oral hearing.

Tips when making your submission at an oral hearing

  • Prepare by considering all the planning issues you wish to raise. Be focussed and as brief as possible. Try not to repeat information.
  • Before the oral hearing starts, you might want to practice reading aloud your submission at home.
  • If you have photographs, videos or other items that you wish to show during your submission, the inspector may allow you to present these to the oral hearing. Copies must be provided and all exhibits must be properly labelled. Contact An Bord Pleanála staff in advance for more information.
  • Follow the instructions or advice given by the inspector. They are there to hear your views. During your submission, the inspector may ask you questions or may stop you if you are repeating information.
  • The inspector understands that you may be nervous making your submission. You should speak clearly and at a steady pace.
  • Generally oral hearings are recorded using a sound system and a set of microphones. Please speak clearly into the microphone provided.

Looking for more information?

You can find out more about what happens after an oral hearing and important legal matters in our guide.