Glanbia Ireland has described its “deep disappointment” at An Taisce’s decision to seek leave to appeal the recent High Court decision about its planned development at Belview, Co Kilkenny.

The High Court, on 20 April, dismissed An Taisce’s challenge against the decision of An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for the Glanbia and Royal A-Ware’s cheese processing plant in Belview.

The dairy processor warned that the An Taisce move would be bad for farmers, but also Ireland as a place to invest.

In a statement issued on Sunday night, Glanbia Ireland chair John Murphy said: “We passionately believe in this project, which is critical to our market diversification post-Brexit and will support Ireland’s post-COVID-19 recovery.

This would be bad for farmers, bad for rural communities and would hurt Ireland’s reputation internationally

“The combined impact of An Taisce objections to this project has been a two-year delay to 2024, but an appeal could delay the project even further.

“This would be bad for farmers, bad for rural communities and would hurt Ireland’s reputation internationally as a location for much-needed foreign direct investment.”

Constructive dialogue

“As an organisation, we are fully committed to sustainability, best practice and are actively engaged in the consultation process on Government policies to secure a sustainable future for the agricultural sector, through AgClimatise and FoodWise 2030,” said Murphy.

“As has always been the case, we remain available to meet with An Taisce to address their concerns through constructive dialogue.”

Murphy’s comments follow concerns aired by IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan in an interview with The Currency, in which he warned of the risk that litigation could become a “mechanism that delays investment and increases costs to such an extent that projects become commercially unviable”.

Earlier on Sunday, a group of Fine Gael TDs criticised the move by An Taisce, saying it didn’t cast Ireland in a good light “locally, regionally or internationally – particularly at a time when we urgently need foreign direct investment and sustainable, well-paying jobs in our rural economy”.

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