Fine Gael Senator John Cummins has strongly criticised An Taisce and accused the body of delaying a massive €140 million investment in a cheese plant on lands surrounding Waterford Port in Belview.
Senator Cummins said “The decision by a state-funded non-governmental organisation, An Taisce to seek a Judicial Review of a decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for what will be a state of the art project is both disappointing and damaging. This a serious blow to dairy farmers in Waterford and the wider South East region.
“This decision by An Taisce seeking to block the new Glanbia cheese plant at Belview is bad for jobs, bad for rural Ireland and bad for farm families. The proposed new Cheese plant is fully in line with government policy on dairy production. The Teagasc roadmap to 2027 supports an increase in milk production to 9.49 billion litres and that milk has to go somewhere”.
“It is envisaged that the new cheese plant will produce continental type cheese, mainly for export and will add to demand for shipping services from Waterford Port. It will also allow for diversification and help mitigate against the damage caused by Brexit”.
Senator Cummins added “This plant has gone through an extensive planning permission process and has received permission from the local authority and has the backing from An Bord Pleanála. There are many young progressive dairy farmers who have decided to invest in rural Ireland and Agriculture on the back of this €140 million investment plan. They have borrowed heavily to acquire modern technology and they now face serious financial loss due to the course of action being pursued by An Taisce”.
“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 in my view unacceptable and wrong. I would plead with An Taisce to withdraw this divisive Court Action and allow common sense to prevail.