Farmer puts brakes on Intel €3.5bn plan - Thomas Reid only third party to appeal Council decision

Thomas Reid of Hedsor House, Leixlip, Co. Kildare pictured outside the Four Courts
Thomas Reid of Hedsor House, Leixlip, Co. Kildare pictured outside the Four Courts

Gordon Deegan

A farmer has appealed Kildare Co Council’s planning permission for Intel’s planned new $4 billion (€3.53bn) facility at its Leixlip plant to An Bord Pleanála.

The appeals board confirmed on Monday that Kildare farmer Thomas Reid has lodged the only third party appeal concerning the new application by the US micro-chip giant for an extended and revised manufacturing fabrication facility, known as a “Fab”.

Mr Reid has long been a thorn in the side of the US multinational in the planning arena and this is now the seventh Intel application he has brought before An Bord Pleanála since 2012.

Intel has itself lodged a first party appeal against one condition attached to the planning permission granted by Kildare Co Council last month.

Decisions on the appeals are expected in October of this year.

The 10 year permission to Intel will provide a windfall of €9.7 million in development contributions for Kildare County Council - if work on the project proceeds.

The planning permission follows three years on after Intel secured planning permission for the first phase of the ‘fab’ facility valued at $4 billion.

In total, the two planning permissions represent a $8 billion (€7 billion) investment which will employ 6,000 construction workers at peak and 1,600 full time jobs on completion.

The projects represent the largest single private investment in the history of the State on one project if given the go-ahead by Intel globally.

Read also: 'This is not a site, it's a farm' - The farmer who took on the State and won fears he could still lose in the end

Consultants for Intel have told the Council that the firm has already invested $12.5 billion on its site at Leixlip.

The Council last month gave the plan the go-ahead after concluding that the proposal accords with national, regional and local planning policy and would not be injurious to the general amenity of the area and would be in proper accordance with the planning and sustainable development of the area.

However, Mr Reid of Hedsor House, Blakestown, Carton, Maynooth, has now appealed the decision and followed up on his initial two page hand-written objection lodged with Kildare County Council against the new application.

In his objection, Mr Reid claimed that the planning application is contrary to the proper planning and development of the area.

Mr Reid unsuccessfully opposed the $4 billion first phase of the ‘fab’ plan in 2017 when lodging an objection against the application and then appealing the Council decision to An Bord Pleanála.

Last year, Mr Reid was subject of an award-winning documentary  over his successful Supreme Court battle with the IDA concerning the use of compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers.

In 2015, Mr Reid emerged victorious in his battle with the IDA where a unanimous Supreme Court found that the IDA making of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for Mr Reid’s 72 acre farm adjacent to the Intel campus had been in excess of the IDA’s powers.

The five-judge court overturned an earlier High Court decision, which would have cleared the way for IDA to purchase the site, for development, against Reid’s wishes.

The costs associated with the case left the IDA with a bill of €1.375 million.

Online Editors