LAOIS County Councillors voted to reject a proposal to lease just over a hectare of land at Clonminam Industrial Estate, Portlaoise to a Mountmellick Recycling Company.
Fianna Fail councillor Jerry Lodge had proposed the lease, but this was met with a counter proposal from Fine Gael Councillor Willie Aird.
Cllr Aird asked the county manager if it should have gone to tender before leasing the site in Clonminam.
In repsonse, Peter Carey said the council had been looking for interested parties for the site, but the recycling plant was the only thing forthcoming.
“I would much prefer an outright purchase and for the council to retrieve some of the investment, but this is a short-term opportunity to get a yield from the site and to create jobs,” he said.
Cllr Aird said it was ironic that this proposal should come just months after company had been granted planning permission on an adjacent site. He said there was also a €100,000 grant from Laois Partnership pending on the other site.
The Portlaoise councillor said he had nothing against MSM Recycling, and the council had been fair to the company in granting them planning permission on an adjacent, private site
Cllr Rotimi Adebari said he was unaware that planning permission had been granted on the other site.
“My understanding was that it had not been granted yet. My position has now changed. Why forego that planning permission and now grant a fresh application,” Cllr Adebari questioned.
The County Manager said that the council could not force someone to develop on a particular site.
“My understanding is that there was a breakdown between the two individuals. That is none of our business.”
Cllr Mary Sweeney said they had met with both parties and there was no breakdown, but a difference of opinion.
In the end, 16 councillors voted in favour of Cllr Aird’s motion not to lease the land. Six voted against it, with just Cllr Alan Hand abstaining.