Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has criticised An Taisce for delaying Glanbia’s plans to build a new cheese manufacturing plant in Kilkenny.
The proposed cheese manufacturing plant in Belview, Co Kilkenny, has been held up obtaining planning and by legal challenge from An Taisce.
“It appears to me that certain NGOs feel that they, rather than the Irish Government, should set government agri-food policy,” Kelleher said.
“An Taisce have opposed the development on the basis that any increase in dairy production, which would be needed for the cheese plant to operate, would be ‘untenable’.
“An Taisce do not get to decide what government policy is; the Irish government do. It is planned, and supported by the Government, to increase dairy production to 9.49 billion litres by 2027,” the Ireland South MEP said.
“This milk has to go somewhere. The proposed Glanbia cheese facility where they plan to make Gouda for the European market is an ideal destination for this additional milk supply.”
Kelleher said An Taisce’s challenges were damaging job creation and Irish dairy farmers who will have their production allowances limited by Glanbia due to a lack of processing capacity.
“Many dairy farmers have taken out loans to finance increased dairy production on their farms to supply milk to this new facility,” he said.
“We need a quick decision on their spurious challenges so that we can move on with developing the production facility and ensuring that dairy farmers do not lose out.”
Kelleher concluded by calling on Glanbia to work with farmers in finding alternatives to cuts in production levels.
“With all the additional ferry capacity, perhaps milk can be shipped to plants overseas rather than seeing farmers lose out?” he said.