An Taisce has responded to criticism by four Fine Gael TDs and former Ministers who had complained that a court action by Ireland’s National Trust was ‘anti-rural economy bias and vexatious’.
Charlie Flanagan (Laois/Offaly), Paul Kehoe (Wexford), John Paul Phelan (Carlow Kilkenny) and David Stanton (Cork East) had accused An Taisce of delaying a €140 million investment in a cheese plant at Belview on the Kilkenny/Waterford border.
“An Taisce should withdraw this divisive court action,” the Fine Gael Four insisted.
A statement received by Kilkenny Press said An Taisce’s statutory role required it to comment on individual planning applications that significantly impact the environment.
“The charity’s overall mission is to enhance water quality, climate action, the protection of biodiversity and food security, access to environmental justice, and environmental education for all of Irish society.
CIVIL SOCIETY’S RIGHT
“A key part of this mission is upholding civil society’s right to use democratic structures and judicial processes for the common good.
“Glanbia recently announced that it plans to temporarily curtail milk supply in mid-summer 2022.
“They ascribe their decision to legal action taken by An Taisce as part of the planning process for a large cheese factory in County Kilkenny, a joint venture between Glanbia and Dutch dairy processor Royal A-ware that was proposed to operate from the end of 2022.
“This has led to calls for An Taisce to withdraw the case,” the statement concluded.
The decision to block the new Glanbia cheese plant at Belview was described as bad for jobs, for rural Ireland and for farm families.
BACKING OF AN BORD PLEANÁLA
“The proposed new cheese plant is fully in line with government policy on dairy production and recognises the need for the dairy industry to diversify and mitigate against the damage caused by Brexit,” the four politicians said in a statement.
“This new exciting cheese plant received permission from the local authority and has the backing of An Bord Pleanála.
“The plant is to produce continental-type cheese mainly for export.
“Rural Ireland faces many challenges not least with Covid.19 and Brexit.
“For a State-funded non-government agency to add to this hardship is unacceptable and wrong,” the united statement from the quartet concluded.