An Taisce’s objection to Glanbia’s proposed new cheese plant has failed in the High Court.

Legal submissions were presented to Justice Richard Humphreys in March. He delivered his judgment this Tuesday finding in favour of An Bord Pleanála. It had upheld the planning approval granted by Kilkenny County Council in November 2019 in the wake of an objection from An Taisce.

An Taisce can seek leave to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court

Glanbia last month reacted to the pressure put on its processing capacity from the delay in the cheese plant by introducing a series of milk supply restrictions for 2022, angering its milk suppliers.

An Taisce can seek leave to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court, a process that could take up to a year. If An Taisce doesn’t appeal, the cheese plant could proceed to the build phase later this year, but it would be 2024 before it processes any milk.

Glanbia reaction

Glanbia Ireland welcomed the decision saying: “The new plant, which is to be developed under a joint venture agreement with our Dutch partner Royal A-Ware, is a vital Brexit diversification measure and is important for rural Ireland and for Ireland’s dairy sector as a whole.”

An Taisce

“In this case, the judge did not find in our favour, but this does not alter the validity of our concerns,” said a statement from An Taisce, voicing “very significant concerns in relation to what appears to have been a highly coordinated and high-profile media campaign mounted in order to attempt to influence the outcome of the case after the hearing had concluded”.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar welcomed the decision, saying the plant is a “valuable investment for the southeast, will create jobs, increase trade and help our dairy sector grow in the eurozone market”.