Pre-Planning Queries - Information

  • What is the function of the Planning Department?

    The aim of the Planning Department is to have in place a system of physical planning capable of meeting the economic, social and sustainable development of the city.

    The physical planning system plays a key role in facilitating delivery of the infrastructure programmes and in addressing housing supply requirements. Local authorities and An Bord Pleanála directly operate the system under the Planning Acts 2000-2013. Accordingly, queries on any specific planning application should be directed to the local authority of the area you wish to enquiry about.

    The main areas that the Planning Department deals with are:

    • Planning Control (planning applications)
    • Forward Planning (development plan and policy)
    • Planning Enforcement
    • Building Control

  • When do I need Planning Permission?

    Generally, you need planning permission for any development of land or property unless the development is specifically exempted from this need. Development includes the carrying out of works (building, demolition, alteration) on land or buildings and the making of a material (i.e. significant) change of use of land or buildings.

    If you are in doubt as to whether you require planning permission or not, please contact the Planning department of Galway City Council on 091- 536599

  • What type of works is exempt from Planning Permission?

    Exempted development is development for which planning permission is not required. Categories of exempted development are set out in planning law. There are usually certain thresholds relating to, for example, size or height.

    Where these thresholds are exceeded, the exemptions no longer apply. The purpose of exemption is to avoid controls on developments of a minor nature.

    The Office of the Planning Regulator and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage have published a series of planning leaflets dealing with all aspects of the planning system.

    These leaflets were revised and updated in 2022 and cover a wide range of issues including how to prepare and lodge a planning application, how to make a planning appeal, requirements for change of use, building extensions, garages, domestic sheds, agricultural development, etc.

    View the leaflets which detail the main exemptions

  • What is a Certificate of Exemption

    If the question arises as to whether a development does or does not require planning permission a person can make an application to the planning authority for a declaration on whether planning permission is required. When the application is received by the planning authority they will issue a decision on whether planning permission is required in 4 weeks from receipt of the application and fee of €80.

  • How do I obtain a Certificate of Exemption

    A cert of exemption can be obtained by completing a 'Declaration of Exempted Development (S5 of the Planning and Development Act 2000) application form and submitting it to the Planning Department with the required fee of €80.00. A decision will issue on the application within 4 weeks.

    Download Certificate of Exemption Application Form [English]

    Download Certificate of Exemption Application Form [Irish]

    Download Certificate of Exemption - Section 5 Guidelines

  • How do I search for the details of a Planning Application?

    The Online Planning Enquiry System allows you to view Maps and Planning Applications online.

  • How can I view old planning applications?

    Historical Planning files from 1991 onwards are available for viewing on the Online Planning Enquiry System. Digital Files older than this can viewed in the planning department of Galway City Council.

    Should you wish to view the original planning file please note that as planning files are archived a request for a file to be retrieved must be made in advance by contacting the Planning department of Galway City Council on 091 536599 or emailing A fee of €6.00 per file is charged for the retrieval of archived planning files.

  • Can I meet with the planner for the area to discuss my planning proposal?

    An appointment can be made with the appropriate planner for a Pre-Planning Consultation by contacting the planning department on 091 536599 or emailing the Planning Department at

  • Can somebody look at my planning application before I lodge it?

    There are many reasons why a planning application may be deemed invalid. A validation service is available from 9am to 12:45pm Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

    If you have queries on completing your application you should contact the Planning Department at 091-536599


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