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Appeal against proposed Kilkenny cheese plant dismissed by Supreme Court

The proposed cheese factory would be located in Kilkenny.

THE SUPREME COURT has dismissed an appeal against the granting of planning permission for a multi-million euro proposed Glanbia cheese factory in Kilkenny.

An Taisce had appealed to the Supreme Court a previous dismissal of its appeal against the factory. 

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan delivered the Supreme Court ruling today on the issue and dismissed the appeal, upholding the previous High Court judgement. 

The environmental NGO had raised concerns about the assessment of the environmental impact of the plant, and challenged An Bord Pleanála’s decision to allow it.

It brought the initial challenge to the High Court – but this case was quashed by the court last year. In July, the High Court also dismissed An Taisce’s challenge to seek leave to appeal the decision. 

The proposed cheese factory would be located in Belview in Kilkenny, near the Waterford border, and would make edam and gouda cheese.

It a joint venture between Glanbia and the Dutch company Royal A-ware, as part of a strategy to diversify the Irish export market.

Today’s judgement said agricultural emissions “present a challenge” in the context of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. 

The judgement said that although An Taisce lost its appeal, it “nevertheless raised important and practical issues regarding the development consent process”.

It also acknowledged that the project is likely to strengthen the overall demand for milk production with 20% of the existing Glanbia milk currently sold to other producers being switched to meet demands of the proposed factory.

This may create a “market vacuum” which will be catered for by other companies and farmers who may “be tempted to increase their own milk production as a result”. 

But it said that any effect on the general milk supply in the State as a result of this factory being set up remains “entirely elusive, contingent and speculative”. 

A number of other objections and suggestions around the planning permission were dismissed by the court in support of original judgements.

An Taisce said it “notes and respects” the Supreme Court decision. The organisation said it appreciated the attention the court gave to the issue. 

“An Taisce made the appeal in the belief that the tests and structures in place were insufficient. Our overriding reaction is of continuing concern. Regrettably, the issues raised by this case have not gone away,” a statement from the organisation said. 

President of the Irish Farmers’ Association Tim Cullinan said today’s decision should be “respected by everybody”. 

“Every appeal avenue has now been exhausted. It’s clear that our planning system needs significant reform to avoid it being used by some to delay necessary developments,” he said in a statement. 

Fine Gael TD and former minister Charlie Flanagan said he is “pleased that this vital piece of rural infrastructure can now proceed”. 

“It’s most important for farm families & food producers in my constituency & beyond,” the Laois/Offaly TD said. 

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