Offaly meat plant investors can ‘submit fresh applications’ to IIP after planning green light

Investors in a €40 million beef processing facility in Co. Offaly who recently had their application for residency under the Immigrant Investment Programme (IIP) rejected are free to submit fresh applications to the initiative if they wish, according to the Department of Justice.

This follows the granting of planning approval for the investment last week by Offaly County Council.

Fianna Fáil TD for Laois-Offaly Barry Cowen last week hit out at the decision by the IIP to reject the application, questioning how the rejection – which stated “the project does not align with government policy in relation to the beef processing industry” – stacks up with the Irish government’s efforts in expanding exports into Asian markets over the course of the last decade.

Relevant criteria

In response to a query on the matter from AgriLand, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice explained:

“With reference to the subject matter of the query, it should be noted that, in reaching its determination, the evaluation committee was satisfied [that the application] did not meet the relevant criteria.

Also Read: Major Offaly meat factory plan ‘blocked’ by the IIP: But who or what is the IIP?

“In addition, at the time that the application was being considered, planning permission had not been granted.

The evaluation committee would not consider it appropriate for IIP permissions to be granted to the projects where planning permission has not been approved.

“In that regard it is noted that planning permission has since being obtained and therefore it will be open to the applicants to submit fresh applications if they so wish.”

Evaluation committee

Commenting on the composition of the IIP evaluation committee in general, the department spokesperson said:

“The IIP Independent Evaluation Committee is composed of senior officials from a number of government departments and state agencies involved in enterprise development in the state.

The evaluation committee convenes at least four times a year to assess projects submitted for determination as suitable for IIP investment.

Applications are assessed on the basis of the profile of the applicant, the commercial viability of the project, employment outcomes associated with the proposed investment and the overall benefit to the Irish state, the department representative said.

“Where necessary the evaluation committee will request policy input from the lead department if that department is not already represented on the committee, e.g. input from the Department of Housing on social housing projects.

The committee will make a determination as to whether a project is suitable for IIP investment and, if deemed suitable, the individual’s application will be submitted to the minister for final approval.

“The current structure ensures that the minister benefits from expertise, beyond that available in the department,” the spokesperson concluded.