Former chair of An Bord Pleanála says forensic investigation had cleared staff of leaking internal report

The ex-chairman of An Bord Pleanála said a forensic search had cleared staff of leaking an internal report and that it was important for their “peace of mind” that they knew that.

In an email to staff, Dave Walsh said it was vital for the reputation of the planning board and that he hoped that two other public bodies with access to the report would carry out a similarly “thorough” investigation.

Mr Walsh said it had been a “very difficult” time for An Bord Pleanála and that he hoped a long weekend would give staff some time to “recharge the batteries”.

In the update to staff last October, he wrote: “The continued media commentary on the issues in the report and the re-hashing of previous reporting is both unfair and counterproductive to all the work that we are continuing to do to address matters.”

Detailing the steps An Bord Pleanála had taken to determine the source of the leak of the internal report, he said a forensic ICT examination had taken place.

He said IT experts had looked at any stored locations of the final report and whether it had been accessed by anyone outside management.

Mr Walsh wrote: “This examination has concluded that, apart from the three members of the senior management team who prepared the report and myself who received the report on Thursday 20th October, there were no other unauthorised accesses of the documentation.

“All emails with the attachment that were sent either within the organisation or externally between the relevant dates where a leak could have occurred (Thursday 20th to Sunday 23rd) were accounted for and fully in order.”