27 May 2022

Offaly meat factory saga rumbles on in absence of An Bord Pleanala resolution

Offaly meat factory saga rumbles on in absence of An Bord Pleanala resolution

Offaly meat factory saga rumbles on in absence of An Bord Pleanala resolution

An Bord Pleanála (ABP) has again confirmed that it is still not in a position to say when the long-running planning issues surrounding the proposed Banagher Chilling project in Offaly will be resolved. 

ABP was responding to the latest attempt by the Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan to try and ascertain when the final planning decision for the multi-million-euro project would be complete.

Deputy Nolan had been informed in January of 2021 that an ABP inspectors report would be completed ‘within the next two weeks.’

However, in correspondence received by the Laois Offaly TD today, An Bord Pleanála now state that a section 131 notice was issued to all relevant parties requesting further information on the 21 March 2022 and the last day for responses was the 11 April 2022.

ABP say the responses were received and are now being considered and that the Board will endeavour to decide the case “in the shortest timeframe possible.”:

“The situation at this point is simply beyond frustrating. Indeed, it now looks like the entire process is being wilfully obstructed and delayed,” said Deputy Nolan.

“Of course, there must be due process, and of course we must listen to whatever people have to say on this matter. But the fact remains that it is getting close to 17 months since the Board was due to issue a decision.”

“We now know that a section 131 notice has been issued. This only happens where Board of ABP is of opinion that, in the particular circumstances of an appeal or referral, it is appropriate to request any party to the appeal or referral or any person who has made submissions or observations to the Board in relation to the appeal or referral, or any other person or body, to make submissions or observations in relation to any matter which has arisen in relation to the appeal or referral.”

“The effect of this, it appears to me at least, is that the entire process essentially becomes open-ended. We are now 17 months past the point when the report was due. In all seriousness, how much longer must we give those who have an interest in holding up the process or stalling it indefinitely?”

“It is time for this process to end. The people of Offaly and Banagher need a decision, not least because the way this issue is being dragged out would send any potential investor looking at the process running for the hills or alternative locations for investment,” concluded Deputy Nolan.

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