A decision has finally been made on whether a controversial intensive pigfarm can be built next to a famous luxury Laois five star hotel.
Laois County Council confirmed on Monday, July 19 that permission has been refused for the contentious farm in Ballyfin near Ballyfin House.
Well-know farmer and cattle breeder Garrett Behan had first applied in January 2020 to construct four sheds big enough to house and fatten 1,932 pigs at any one time. The pigs' waste would be collected in tanks under slatted floors and spread on the applicant's land and land of farms who have agreed to take it, replacing artificial fertilizers Mr Behan had said. He also said it would create jobs.
However, the plan met with nearly a dozen objections, including one signed by 135 people. They cited concerns for contamination of drinking water, contamination of the air from toxic gasses from slurry, the smell, damage to biodiversity, devaluation of properties and the possible spread of pest and disease.
Ballyfin House Hotel's Managing Director Jim Reynolds had lodged a submission against the plan.
"The possibility of an intensive pig production unit nearby is very disturbing and the resultant smells and odours and noise will hugely impact our place at all seasons as will the inevitable smell of slurry and manure on farmland. As a viable business with an international market dependent on an unspoilt rural environment and being the largest employer in the area with 94 people engaged we object to this application and request and request the planning office in Laois to reject the application".
Inland Fisheries Ireland said that the spreading of slurry could pollute rivers and was premature.
An Taisce also expressed concerns for slurry polluting rivers and also toxic methane gasses polluting the air.
Nearby Barnashrone National School said that the odours produced by the development would have "multiple detrimental effects", most notably on its pupils with special needs.
The applicant may appeal to An Bord Pleanála.
Mr Behan is one of the most successful breeders of pedigree cattle in Ireland. Apart from winning numerous prizes at agricultural shows, he secured a record €52,000 for an animal sold at an Irish Simmental Cattle Society online sale in October 2020.
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