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An Taisce sees 'five-figure boost' in donations in two days since Taoiseach's cheese factory comment

The Taoiseach was criticised for interfering in the planning process, and many encouraged others to join or donate.

Image: Shutterstock/nesavinov

AN TAISCE HAS had a “five-figure boost” in donations in the last two days, after the Taoiseach asked the environmental group not to appeal a High Court decision to allow a cheese factory to be built in Co Kilkenny.

A spokesperson for the organisation said it has also seen “hundreds of new members” join, and that its social media has also seen a “huge increase” in mentions and followers.

In the Dáil this week, Taoiseach Micheál Martin asked An Taisce not to appeal a High Court decision to uphold a planning application for the cheese factory – a part of the Government’s post-Brexit strategy to give the dairy industry a boost.

The new cheese factory will be located in Belview, near the Waterford border, and will make edam and gouda cheese. This a joint venture between Glanbia and the Dutch company Royal A-ware, as part of a post-Brexit strategy to diversify the Irish export market away from cheddar, which is only eaten in large quantities in Ireland and the UK.

“I would appeal that there would be no further appeals against this project now, given the fact that the courts have ruled very clearly in relation to it and there very many jobs depend on it,” the Taoiseach told the Dáil.

In the aftermath of these comments, the Taoiseach was criticised for interfering in the legal and planning process, and many on social media encouraged others to join or donate to An Taisce.

An Taisce’s Natural Environment Officer Dr Elaine McGoff called the Taoiseach’s comments “highly unusual”.

“We look at the science, we look at the law, we are confident that the choices we are making are in keeping with the law and are underpinned by the science,” she said, adding that all of Ireland’s key environmental indicators are “going the wrong way”.

Dr McGoff said that whether An Taisce appeals or not, “the writing is on the wall” in relation to this type of agriculture, and that farmers shouldn’t be forced to choose between jobs and the environment either.

Yesterday, Minister for Children and Equality and Green Party TD Roderic O’Gorman defended An Taisce, saying that it plays “an important role” in Irish life.

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When asked should the Taoiseach have ‘butted out’, O’Gorman said: “It’s best for these legal processes to play out, and I would generally say politicians should leave it to play out.”

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