By Gordon Deegan

Contentious plans for a large-scale extension to a piggery in east Cork, opposed by one of Ireland’s best known chefs, Darina Allen, have been withdrawn.

An Bord Pleanala has confirmed that the planning application by Derra Farms Ltd. for the significant expansion of its Curraheen Pig Farm at Ballymacoda in east Cork has been withdrawn.

The application sought to demolish existing buildings designed for 220 integrated sows to be replaced by the new facility for 4,224 finisher pigs.


The proposed extension would have resulted in a doubling of the slurry produced at the pig farm from 3,500m3 to 7,254m3.

Planning documentation lodged with the application stated that most of the existing pig buildings date back to the 1980s and the pig unit was in need of refurbishment and investment in new buildings in order to achieve improved economic and environmental performance.

The move by the pig farm operator to withdraw the planning application comes two years after it was given the go-ahead for the project by Cork County Council.

However, the project was stalled after eight third parties lodged appeals with An Bord Pleanala against the council green light.

One of those to appeal the planned extension was the Power (Protection Of Water Environment and Residents) Group East Cork.

Image source An Bord Pleanala via Google Image search Banagher Chilling An Taisce
Image: Google

When the scheme was before Cork County Council Darina Allen lodged an objection on behalf of the Ballymaloe Cookery School.

One of over 50 parties to object, Allen stated that “I strongly object to the proposed pig factory at Curraheen, Ballymacoda”.

She said that “this is not the direction Irish agriculture should take”, adding that all over the world the emphasis is on producing sustainable food.

Allen said that “the intensive farming practices adopted by Derra Farms Ltd proposed for this development are the polar opposite of such an approach”.

She further contended that “our food system needs an immediate and significant overhaul and developments such as that proposed by Derra Farms are part of the problem”.

“Local residents are concerned that there will be a devaluation of property in the area as has happened in similar situations around the country,” she added.


The well-known chef also stated that the extension “is contrary to the government policy to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG)”.

Darina Allen also pointed out that the odour from a piggery of this size will be considerable.

Cork County Council granted planning permission after Derra Farms scaled down the number of finisher pigs from 4,500 to 4,224.

The council planner’s report recommended a grant of permission after pointing out that the site contains an established pig farm within a rural area and the principle of the development is acceptable and, as an agricultural activity, is fully consistent with the land use policies of the County Development Plan.

The most recently filed accounts for Derra Farms Ltd show that at the end of December 2020, it had €1.25 million in accumulated profits.