The decision in the High Court to uphold the decision of An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for a new Glanbia cheese processing plant has been widely welcomed.
An Taisce had challenged An Bord Pleanala's decision on the cheese plant at Belview, Co Kilkenny.
In a brief statement Glanbia Ireland stated that the plant, which is to be developed as a joint venture with Dutch company Royal A-Ware, was a vital Brexit diversification measure and important for rural Ireland and Ireland’s dairy sector as a whole.
IFA president Tim Cullinan said the judgement was a significant development which would allow Glanbia to diversify and seek new markets for farmers’ milk. He said lengthy court battles were not the ideal setting for discussion about the future of the agri food sector.
IFA dairy chair Stephen Arthur invited An Taisce to meet with the IFA to discuss this project and its value to the rural economy.
“We are willing to engage with anybody who wants to put forward their views on the sustainable development of our sector,” Arthur said.
ICMSA president, Pat McCormack, said that decision provided much needed clarification.
“ICMSA respects any party’s right to object, but we hope that the High Court decision will be accepted,” McCormack said.
“The more immediate aspect of this whole question now becomes Glanbia’s peak production supply management programme with its restrictions on farmer supplies. That very questionable policy was introduced on foot of the non-progression of the Belview plant.
“Now that we can assume that the plant will proceed, we await Glanbia’s announcement on relaxations to the proposed restrictions.”
Chairperson of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, Fianna Fáil TD, Jackie Cahill, said there was no time to waste on the construction of the Glanbia cheese plant.
“I welcome this decision that finally gives Glanbia the green light to proceed with the Belview cheese plant. This will be an enormous boost to rural areas and farming families across the region,” Cahill said.
“I have been inundated by calls to my office in recent months from dairy farmers and rural people complaining about the unjustified delays that the plant has experienced as a result of An Taisce’s attempts to block its development.
The Belview plant was first approved for planning permission in late 2019, and in June 2020, An Bord Pleanála upheld the permission.