Four current Fine Gael TDs and former Ministers, Charlie Flanagan (Laois/Offaly), Paul Kehoe (Wexford), John Paul Phelan (Carlow Kilkenny) and David Stanton (Cork East) have strongly criticised An Taisce and accused the body of delaying a massive €140 million investment in a cheese plant on the Kilkenny Waterford border.
“The decision by the state-funded nongovernmental organisation, An Taisce, is a serious blow to dairy farmers in Leinster. The decision 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 and recognises the need for the dairy industry to diversify and mitigate against the damage caused by Brexit.
“This new exciting cheese plant received permission from the local authority and has the backing from An Bord Pleanála. The new cheese plant is to produce continental type cheese mainly for export.
“Many young progressive dairy farmers have decided to invest in rural Ireland and Agriculture. They have borrowed heavily to acquire modern technology. They have invested in the rural economy and they now face serious financial loss. Jobs will be lost.
“It is clear to me that the Court action taken by An Taisce chose a clear anti-rural economy bias and is vexatious.
“An Taisce should withdraw this divisive Court Action.
“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.”