A full-time farmer has failed to get planning permission for an “alterations and reconfigurations” project by tech giant, Intel Ireland at it’s Leixlip campus, overturned in the High Court.
Farmer Thomas Reid – who previously won a case in the Supreme Court against the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) over a compulsory purchase order on his home and lands in Co. Kildare – launched an appeal four years ago against an An Bord Pleanála decision.
Reid, who has a 74ac farm, had lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála in July 2020 in relation to planning permission granted by Kildare County Council in 2020 to Intel for “modifications” to previous planning permissions it had secured in 2017 and 2019.
These modifications would include “alterations and reconfigurations” to the roof mounted service ducting, which would increase the overall height of the buildings by between 3 and 6 metres.
An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission to Intel for the proposed development in November 2020.
Reid claimed that he was not notified by the board of its decision and not supplied with a copy of the decision, subsequently he was granted leave to apply for a judicial review into the decision.
In his 27 page judgement on the case Justice Richard Humphreys described the applicant’s (Thomas Reid) appeal to An Bord Pleanála about Kildare County Council’s planning decision as “an idiosyncratic document consisting of six handwritten pages in block capitals together with some attachments”.
“Much of this material deals with matters not obviously relevant to procedures under the Planning and Development Act 2000, such as “killer robots”, the judge also noted.
Justice Humphreys said that “overall the appeal has little or no actual detail or tangible substance”.
The judge also referenced an affidavit that outlined “since Intel’s acquisition of the site in 1989, it has invested approximately €30 billion turning the Intel facility into one of the most technologically advanced manufacturing locations in Europe”.
Justice Humphreys also highlighted from the affidavit that “it is estimated that Intel contributes €2.75 billion each year to the Irish economy and supports 17,339 full-time equivalent jobs in the economy”.
In reference to Reid’s challenge against the Intel planning decision the judge stated: “I say and believe and am advised that the applicant’s grounds of challenge are misconceived.”
He also noted that “that by virtue of a six page handwritten appeal, making unbuttoned complaints about a wide variety of actors, but failing to contain any meaningful relevant specifics” Reid had succeeded in delaying the “finality” of the planning permission for the Intel project from 2020 to 2024.
Justice Humphreys detailed in his judgement, published this month, that Reid’s lawyers had “expended admirable efforts in trying to erect a towering legal superstructure of objection on the applicant’s notice of appeal, but that construction is ultimately founded on sand”.
He said that as a result Reid’s case had ultimately collapsed for a number of reasons.