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Kildare County Council puts the brakes on Intel's €3.5 billion plan for new manufacturing plant

The council wants further information from the tech giant on the plan.

Image: Rollingnews.ie

KILDARE COUNTY COUNCIL has put on hold plans by Intel for a new $4 billion (€3.53 billion) manufacturing fabrication (FAB) facility at its Leixlip plant.

This follows the planning authority seeking further information from the chip giant on its ambitious plan.

The primary issue in the further information request concerns Eirgrid’s plan for a new 220KV sub-station to connect the Maynooth Woodland transmission line to the Intel campus in either an overground or underground format across the Rye Water.

Eirgrid requires planning permission from An Bord Pleanála to construct the connection and the Council point out that a planning application has yet to be lodged for the project.

In the further information lodged, the Council is requesting Intel to examine the impacts of the overground or underground options of the grid connection.

The impacts are to form part of a revised Natura Impact Statement to be lodged to examine the combined impacts of the Intel plan and the Eirgrid scheme.

The council has sought further information on the Eirgrid connection after the country’s most high profile planning activist, Peter Sweetman told the Council that construction or the go-ahead for the plan can’t proceed without specific details of the grid connection to serve the new facility and cited a High Court judgement to support his argument.

In the further information request, the council has also requested Intel to respond to issues raised by third parties making submissions.

The small number of those to make submissions include farmer Thomas Reid.

Reid has long been a thorn in the side of the US multinational in the planning arena and this is the seventh Intel Leixlip application the farmer has objected to since 2012 with six previous Intel applications brought before An Bord Pleanála by Reid.

In 2016, Intel secured planning permission for the first phase of the ‘fab’ facility valued at $4 billion and the new application, which is  an extension of the original plan, represents an additional investment of $4 billion.

In total, the $8 billion (€7 billion) investment – which will employ 6,000 construction workers at peak and 1,600 full time jobs on completion – will represent the largest single private investment in the history of the State on one project if given the go-ahead by Intel globally.

Consultants for Intel have told Kildare County Council that the firm has already invested $12.5 billion on its site at Leixlip and the firm is seeking a 10 year planning permission for its new application.

However, Reid of Hedsor House, Blakestown, Carton, Maynooth, is seeking to object to the multi-national’s plans after lodging a two page hand-written submission against the new application.

The application will become ‘live’ once Intel lodged the requested information.

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Gordon Deegan

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