An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has welcomed the news that a High Court judicial review has rejected An Taisce’s objection to Glanbia’s proposed new cheese plant in Belview, Co Kilkenny.

An Taisce had sought a judicial review into An Bord Pleanála’s decision to uphold planning permission for the plant, with Mr Justice Richard Humphreys delivering his judgement on Tuesday in favour of Glanbia.

The Tánaiste said it was a very welcome decision.

“Valuable investment for the southeast, will create jobs, increase trade and help our dairy sector to grow in the eurozone market,” he said.

Glanbia welcomed the decision and said the new plant is a vital diversification measure and is important for rural Ireland and the country’s dairy sector as a whole.

An Taisce said it is now considering the judgement to determine if there are grounds which warrant an application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal or for an application to the Supreme Court.

Farmer reaction

ICMSA president Pat McCormack said that decision provided much-needed clarification and he urged all parties to the matter to now accept that the facility will go ahead in compliance with all regulatory requirements.

“[The] ICMSA respects any party’s right to object, but we hope that the High Court decision will be accepted.

“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,” he said.

IFA president Tim Cullinan also welcomed the judgment.

“This is a significant development and it allows Glanbia to diversify and seek new markets for our quality milk,” he said.

He added that lengthy court battles were not the ideal setting for discussions about the future of the agri-food industry.