'Huge relief' as Glanbia cheese plant in South East gets go-ahead

Sian Moloughney

Reporter:

Sian Moloughney

Kilkenny Glanbia

A legal challenge to plans by Glanbia to develop a major cheese processing plant in south Kilkenny has been rejected by the High Court.

Carlow/Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan, who lives just 10 minutes from the site of the proposed plant, has welcomed the judicial review decision, published this morning (Tuesday).

The judicial review was brought by An Taisce against a decision of An Bord Pleanala to grant planning permission to the plant.

John Paul Phelan, lives within 10 minutes of the Glanbia site at Belview, said the decision was a "huge relief" to the entire south east regional economy and the dairy industry as a whole. He was one of a number of Fine Gael TDs who had appealed to An Taisce to withdraw their objection to the much-needed, €140 million continental cheese processing facility.The €150 million continental cheese facility in Belview was previously approved by Kilkenny County Council and the decision upheld by An Bord Pleanala. It's expected to create 100 permanent jobs, and up to 400 jobs during construction.

Deputy Phelan said: “Glanbia paid out over €1 billion to dairy farmers across the country last year, so much of which was ploughed back into the local and regional economy. Farm families are key supporters of their local shops, local businesses and the wider rural economy and Glanbia’s impact cannot be underestimated. It is a major employer in the region through its offices, its processing plants, agri branches, garden centres and more.

“Much needed construction employment will be created as part of this development and the new plant will take milk from dairy farmers across this region for years to come. I am hopeful that this decision will also help Glanbia reverse its recent move to temporarily limit peak capacity intake for a shorter term than planned.  Milk cheques are a massive driver of our local economy across the south east and even wider.

“Glanbia has shown itself to be an exceptional and responsible employer and a major contributor to sporting and cultural life and community events throughout Ireland. The company, while a major international brand, is still very true to its Cooperative roots and ethos.

“I am hopeful that this is the end of the matter; that there will not be an appeal and that this critical project can progress without further delays. Any further delay would mean farmers would be forced to produce less milk well into the future and potentially that Glanbia and its international project partner would have to go back to the drawing board. The economic impact and potential international reputational damage would be very damaging, catastrophic in fact.”

More to come on this developing story...