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An Bord Pleanála denies farmer the chance to cross-examine Intel executives over new site

Intel has already invested $12.5 billion on its site at Leixlip.

Image: Photocall Ireland

A FARMER HAS been denied the opportunity to have Intel Ireland executives cross-examined over their planned $4bn Leixlip investment at a public planning forum.

This follows An Bord Pleanála writing to Mr Thomas Reid, Intel Ireland and Kildare County Council to confirm that his request for an appeals board oral hearing has been denied.

Reid made his request for the hearing last June.

However, in the appeal board letter, the board states that it “has concluded that the appeal can be dealt with adequately through written procedures”.

The letter explained that the board has absolute discretion to hold an oral hearing and generally holds one where this will help its understanding of a particularly complex case or where it considers that, in a case involving significant national or local issues, the written submissions need to be supplemented by an oral hearing of the issues.

The letter states that the processing of the appeal is to continue and the board is aiming to have the case decided upon next month.

Last month, Intel Ireland requested An Bord Pleanála to use rarely used powers to dismiss what it claimed is the “vexatious” appeal by Reid.

The Irish arm of the chip giant made the request as it has claimed that much of the appeal lodged by Mr Reid against Intel’s new ‘Fab’ plant at Leixlip “is vexatious”.

As a result, Intel Ireland requested An Bord Pleanála to invoke Section 138 of the Planning and Development Act where the appeals board can dismiss appeals if it finds that an appeal is vexatious, frivolous or without substance or foundation.

Kildare Co Council gave the project the go-ahead in May but Mr Reid is single handedly trying to stop the massive investment proceeding.

Reid of Hedsor House, Blakestown, Carton, Maynooth has long been a thorn in the side of the US multinational in the planning arena and this is the seventh Intel application he has brought before An Bord Pleanála since 2012.

The planning permission follows three years on after Intel secured planning permission for the first phase of the ‘fab’ facility valued at $4 billion – which was also opposed by Mr Reid at An Bord Pleanála.

In total, the two planning permissions represent a $8 billion (€7.15 billion) investment which will employ 6,000 construction workers at peak and 1,600 full time jobs on completion.

The projects represent the largest single private investment in the history of the State on one project if given the go-ahead by Intel globally.

Intel has already invested $12.5 billion on its site at Leixlip. 

In Reid’s five page appeal, he claimed that the proposal is contrary to the proper planning and development of the area and has requested an oral hearing.

However, consultants for Intel Ireland, Jacobs Engineering told the appeals board: “As with previous objections and previous appeals made by Mr Reid, it is submitted that much of the appeal is vexatious”.

The consultants stated that while the Reid appeal “cites many of the identified issues as comprising major impacts, it provides no substantiation, nor basis for such statements”.

Last year, Mr Reid was subject of an award-winning documentary  over his successful Supreme Court battle with the IDA concerning the use of compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers.

In 2015, Mr Reid emerged victorious in his battle with the IDA where a unanimous Supreme Court found that the IDA making of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for Mr Reid’s 72 acre farm adjacent to the Intel campus had been in excess of the IDA’s powers.

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Gordon Deegan

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