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Glanbia’s proposed cheese plant for Belview, South Kilkenny looks set to proceed

An Taisce says it's studying the full judgement

A Supreme court ruling today means a new Glanbia cheese plant in South Kilkenny can proceed as planned.

The judgement delivered this morning dismissed an appeal brought by An Taisce against the High court decision to uphold the permission granted by An Bord Pleanála for the Belview factory.

KCLR’s agricultural correspondent Matt O’Keeffe says “They are not referring it to the European Court of Justice so they’re not allowing that and that was open to the Supreme Court to adjudicate one way or the other to say that they denied An Taisce’s case but that they would allow it to go to the European Court of Justice, it does not appear from my reading of this that they are allowing that so that appears to be the end of the road for An Taisce”.

IFA President Tim Cullinan says the decision today should be respected by everybody.

Kilkenny IFA County Chairman Jim Mulhall is glad it’s finally set to proceed; “It took a long time to get there, I mean, on the fifth time of asking, we’ve gotten over the line and look it I mean we respect the process and now we have gotten a final, I suppose, a final, final answer that the cheese plant can proceed below in Belview and, I suppose, it is good news for the farming community but it’s good news for local commerce and local industry as well, I mean, this is going to create a lot of jobs during the build process and in the processing end of it as well so it is a positive for everyone in the South East of the country”.

Glanbia’s issued this statement:

“Glanbia Ireland welcomes today’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court to uphold An Bord Pleanála’s granting of planning permission for our cheese processing facility at Belview in south Kilkenny.

The continental cheese production facility planned for Belview is a joint venture between Glanbia Ireland and international dairy firm, Royal A-ware.

Glanbia Ireland Chief Executive Jim Bergin said; “We are really pleased that we can now bring this project to fruition in conjunction with our partners, Royal A-ware. This project is in line with Government policy and is critical to our market diversification post Brexit. Getting the plant into production as soon as possible is now of huge importance to our 4,500 farm families supplying their milk to Glanbia Ireland every day.

“This significant project was due to commence production in March of this year and the two-year delay is causing very negative impacts on our farm families. Our team is now focused on getting the plant into production for the 2024 season.

“We are extremely grateful to our joint venture partners, Royal A-ware for their patience over the past two years as this project successfully progressed through the planning and legal processes.”

Glanbia Ireland Chairman John Murphy said; “We are hopeful that today’s ruling brings an end to uncertainty for farm families and to the significant extra costs, including income foregone by farmers, construction cost inflation, legal costs and business disruption that the delay has caused.

”Glanbia as an organisation is embedded in the rural community and our ethos has always been that dialogue with stakeholders is the best approach to addressing both opportunities and challenges. We are fully committed to sustainability and have launched our own ambitious Living Proof sustainability strategy, including committing to the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). We are actively engaged in the appropriate forums on Government policies to secure a sustainable future for the agricultural sector, through AgClimatise and the Food Vision 2030 Strategy.”

The Kilkenny Cheese joint venture was announced in January 2019 with the intention to enter production in 2022. Kilkenny County Council granted planning for the new cheese facility at Belview in November 2019.

An Bord Pleanála refused an appeal and granted permission in June 2020. On 20 April 2021, the High Court upheld the planning approval granted by An Bord Pleanála. After an unsuccessful application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal in July 2021, An Taisce subsequently brought the matter to the Supreme Court, which heard the case in January 2022.

As well as supporting the incomes of 4,500 farm families, the new Enterprise Ireland supported cheese production facility is expected to create 85 full-time jobs and support 400 construction jobs in the south east.

An Taisce‘s stated the following on its website:

Stay tuned for more on this in news bulletins at the top of each hour as well as on our talk programmes The Way It Is with Sue Nunn (4pm to 6pm) and KCLR LIve with Eimear Ní Bhraonáin (10am to 12pm).