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Businessman objects to expansion plans by Irish Distillers

Irish technology entrepreneur Colm O'Cuilleanain – who invested in the successful global Hailo taxi app and now runs its European arm – has objected to a multi-million euro plan by Irish Distillers for a major expansion of its Dublin bottling facility that would result in 50 new full-time jobs.

Mr O'Cuilleanain and his business partner Martin Ryan own a site adjacent to the Irish Distillers plant at Fox & Geese in Clondalkin. They currently rent the site to a car sales garage.

The Irish Independent revealed last month that Irish Distillers – owned by French group Pernod Ricard – had sought to significantly expand the plant as global demand for Jameson whiskey continues to grow.

Mr O'Cuilleanain became a millionaire when he sold an outdoor ad business 10 years ago and then sold a company called Netsure Telecom to software giant Oracle in 2007. He's also a director of Irish tech firm VisibleThread.

He was one of the early investors in Hailo who injected a total of €1m into the taxi app business.

The Fox & Geese plant currently has six bottling lines and bottles about 3.6m 9-litre case equivalents a year.

Irish Distillers applied for a 10-year planning permission to redevelop the site. It wants to install 24 new alcohol storage plants, extend the existing bottling hall and add a new water reservoir and support plant and control building.

"Fox & Geese is currently operating at near capacity and it is not possible to increase output without development of the production facilities on site," Irish Distillers told South Dublin County Council.

The council has just said it intends to give the go-ahead for the expansion, despite objections from Mr O'Cuilleanain and Mr Ryan.

They will now have to appeal the council's decision to grant permission to An Bord Pleanala if they want to try and reverse the ruling.

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