Appeal 'may put 900 new jobs in jeopardy'
Published 14/03/2014 | 02:30
CONCERNS have been raised that 900 new jobs in Limerick could be delayed, following an appeal by An Taisce against part of a multimillion-euro development by biopharmaceutical giant Regeneron.
An Taisce has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanala against an aspect of the proposed redevelopment of the old Dell site in Raheen by Regeneron.
The biopharmaceutical company plans on investing over €200m in a proposed new facility, creating 600 construction jobs and 300 full-time positions once completed.
An Taisce has taken issue with the planned access routes to the site, which it says are contrary to Limerick's position as a Smarter Travel Hub.
Croom-based Fianna Fail local election candidate Seamus Sheahan fears there will be unnecessary delays as a result of the appeal by the preservation body, putting the jobs in jeopardy.
But Charles Stanley-Smith from An Taisce Public Affairs doesn't believe this will be the case.
"It's not an appeal against the redevelopment of a Dell site, it is a specific appeal on one particular part of the application, which is to do with the travel aspect of it," he explained.
"Limerick is a Smarter Travel Hub and has been given quite a substantial amount of money to be a Smarter Hub and promote Smarter Travel. We just believe that this particular condition just doesn't meet that. The rest of it can go ahead. . . we haven't appealed that."
Slamming it as a "reckless move", Mr Sheahan, said the appeal will pose a major threat and is certain to delay the provision of the jobs.
"These jobs are badly needed and the appeal to An Bord Pleanala has the potential to cause a considerable delay to this project. What interest does An Taisce seek to service with this move? What can be more important than job creation in the economy?" Mr Sheahan questioned.
The proposed €218m investment by Regeneron in a new biopharmaceutical facility at the site of the former Dell plant is seen as hugely significant for Limerick and would be a considerable boost for the local jobs industry.
New York-headquartered Regeneron markets medicines for eye diseases, colorectal cancer, and a rare inflammatory condition, and has product candidates in development in other areas of high unmet medical need, including hypercholesterolemia, oncology, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis.