An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has called on An Taisce to reverse its decision to appeal the High Court judgement on planning permission for the Glanbia cheese plant at Belview, Co Kilkenny.

The Taoiseach described the project as being of immense economic importance to the region, but also to the expansion of the industry.

“It's gone through a very lengthy process already. I would appeal that there'll be no further appeals against this project now, given the fact that the courts have ruled very clearly in relation to it, and that many jobs depend on it,” he said.

“There has to be balance in terms of how we all behave in society. We can't all be absolutist in pursuit of our own objectives to the exclusion of the wellbeing of others in society.

“I think the balance has been tipped in the wrong scale here now, completely. It will create unnecessary tensions and division.”

Reigned in

The comments from An Taoiseach came following questions by Independent TD Mattie McGrath during a Dáil debate on Tuesday, warning that the appeal could cost hundreds of jobs at the plant.

“An Taisce are getting two and a half million annually from different government agencies and they’re causing wreck. A non-government agency using taxpayer’s money to destroy tax payers.”

Independent TD Micheal Lowry said the appeal would have detrimental consequences for the farmers who are supplying Glanbia.

“I think it's time An Taisce were reigned in. We have to do that by changing our planning laws to make appeals less available.”

Milk capacity issues due to planning delays caused by An Taisce’s appeals have already had a knock-on effect, with Glanbia making the controversial decision to limit peak milk supply from their suppliers.

Glanbia has warned that the appeal is bad for farmers, but also Ireland as a place to invest.