19 May 2022

Supreme Court appeal sought against new Glanbia cheese factory

Supreme Court appeal sought against new Glanbia cheese factory

The proposed Glanbia cheese facility at Belview: calls to allow it proceed without delay

A futher appeal is to be taken by the Irish national trust against a planned new Glanbia cheese factory in Kilkenny over its potential damage to the environment.

The €140 million factory in Belview would take in 450 million litres of milk per annum. Approximately 80 full time jobs would be created and the cheese would be sold globally. An Bord Pleanála granted permission a year ago.

An Taisce has announced it is seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. This follows the High Court's rejection of their application to appeal in July, a decision which Laois TD Charlie Flanagan said was "a win for ordinary farming families".

"An Taisce’s decision is based on a considered analysis of the legal aspects of the case and is rooted in the principles and values central to the mission and role of An Taisce - to protect and advocate for ecological resilience and the future viability of the natural environment.

"Our concerns are increasingly underpinned by a series of reports from the Environmental Protection Agency and other authorities indicating the impacts of intensive agriculture on water and air quality and the increasing greenhouse gas emissions from that sector.

"It is our conviction that the original judgment raised points of law that are of exceptional public importance and which require to be appealed in the public interest. The judgement also creates a precedent in law that dilutes a number of important prior decisions that served to ensure rigorous assessment of the environmental impacts of proposed developments at the planning stage. 

"An Taisce has considered this step carefully and reiterates that it is keenly aware of the widespread concerns within the farming community and elsewhere about the wellbeing of farmers who have invested heavily in this sector and the consequences for them if it does not continue to expand as proposed in various Government and industry plans.

"However, the implications of such expansion for the health of our essential ecosystems and the consequences for Irish rural communities are enormous and irreversible. It would thus be irresponsible of us not to seek the support of the highest court in the land to advocate for the interests of a sustainable future for nature.

"In doing so, we are availing of the entitlement of all citizens and entities in the State to the full capacity of the judicial system, an entitlement that should never be set aside for the convenience of commerce or politics or to appease sectoral interests.

Glanbia recently commissioned a huge €130 million mozzerella factory they built near Portlaoise in Laois, which will employ 100 when fully operational, producing 45,000 tonnes of grated mozzerella cheese for pizzas per year.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association has described An Taisce's decision as "regrettable" and “agency over-reach”

The President of ICMSA is Pat McCormack.

"Several agencies all at least as qualified as An Taisce and no less dedicated to dealing with sustainability, had already looked at the Belview proposal and adjudged it possible to go ahead in accordance with our programme for transitioning our dairy sector to a more sustainable basis. 

"The implication in the decision to seek leave to appeal the High Court ruling was that none of those other agencies or bodies understood the challenge or their remits to the same degree that An Taisce did.   With all due respect, ICMSA could not accept that.

"We all had to work within the parameters of a national strategy that was already underway and had to be given time to work.  The Belview proposal is a progressive sustainable proposal and it should be allowed to proceed as soon as possible," the ICMSA president ended. 

An Taisce - The National Trust for Ireland is a charity promoting environmental awareness and action in the context of the climate and biodiversity emergencies. Founded in 1948, is is one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental organisations. It is an independent charitable voice for the environment and for heritage issues.

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