Offaly County Councillor Eddie Fitzpatrick has said there is ‘no basis’ for stories in Portarlington that a planned factory bringing 50 jobs, has been shelved.
Last July Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced that the Magni Group, a worldwide leader in automotive coatings, were to set up a manufacturing and research facility in Port, employing 50 people.
The jobs cover production, IT, quality control, research, maintenance and administration, in a 40,000 square foot purpose built factory.
Portarlington man Kieran Leavy was credited with bringing the factory to Ireland, working as a ‘connector’ for ConnectIreland and IDA Ireland, and set to receive €75,000 in return for creating the 50 jobs.
Last September, Magni applied to Offaly County Council to construct the paint manufacturing facility in Botley Lane.
The council’s planning department confirmed last Wednesday that the application is “still an active file” and is due for a decision on February 14.
However local rumours are rife that the plan is no more.
Cllr Eddie Fitzpatrick says there is no basis for this.
“There is a lot of talk, everyone is saying they are gone, blaming the council for planning delays, but I can’t find any basis for it. There was a delay of maybe a month. An important piece of information was left out of the Environmental Impact Study. The council looked for it and within a week they had it,” he said.
He sought clarification from a Magni engineer at their Cork factory last month.
“He told me they haven’t been instructed to withdraw from the program, it is continuing as planned,” he said.
Offaly councillors are due to approve a Material Contravention of the County Development plan, to allow rezoning of land for the facility, at their meeting on January 27.
“They will vote for it, there is no issue. As far as I’m concerned, it is still ongoing. If the factory doesn’t come, it’s not because it was delayed by a month,” said Cllr Fitzpatrick.
Both Magni and Kieran Leavy declined to comment.