The planning process for the proposed Banagher Chilling meat processing facility has now been ongoing for around three-and-a-half years, a TD has said.

In June, An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for the €40 million plant in Co. Offaly, subject to 15 conditions.

The board found that the development would not, pending the adoption of sectoral emissions plans, be contrary to the provisions of the Climate Action Plan 2021.

The decision to grant planning permission for the facility by Offaly County Council in July 2020 was appealed to An Bord Pleanála by self-described “lifelong environmentalist” Desmond Kampff and co-appellant, Gwen Wordingham, who both live in Banagher.

Banagher Chilling

Kampff and Wordingham subsequently took a legal challenge in the High Court seeking leave for a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s decision; Banagher Chilling Limited is listed as a notice party in the court documents.

The applicants said that they are “critically concerned” at the potential environmental impacts from the proposed meat processing facility.

They allege that the decision by An Bord Pleanála breaches the Water Framework Directive and surface water regulations.

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Independent TD for Laois-Offaly, Carol Nolan

Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan said that the period from which the original planning application was lodged for the meat plant, to the present time, has now exceeded 41 months.

“The vast majority of people in Offaly and the wider midlands region, and indeed the majority of public representatives such as myself, were delighted when the An Bord Pleanála decision came through in June.

“However, as we know, the process now remains in legal stasis until the High Court makes its decision,” the TD said.

“It is absolutely absurd for a facility which has been subjected to intense levels of local government and planning authority scrutiny to be held up in this way.

“We need that investment to deliver competitive outcomes for our farmers and our communities and we need it now.

“This entire issue has to be reviewed because we simply cannot have a repeat of this every time an investor wants to bring jobs and competition to Offaly and the region,” Nolan said.