Business Irish

Friday 23 August 2019

Intel calls for Leixlip appeal to be dismissed

Planning board urged to step in

Dispute: Intel’s plans to expand its Leixlip operations face an appeal from a local farmer
Dispute: Intel’s plans to expand its Leixlip operations face an appeal from a local farmer

Gordon Deegan

Intel Ireland has asked An Bord Pleanála adopt rarely -used powers to dismiss what it claims is a "vexatious" appeal by farmer Thomas Reid against its planned $4bn (€3.6bn) investment at Leixlip.

The Irish arm of the chip giant said that much of the appeal lodged by Mr Reid against the new 'Fab' plant was "vexatious".

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The project is the largest single private investment in the history of the State in one scheme, if given the go-ahead by Intel globally.

Intel Ireland has requested An Bord Pleanála invoke Section 138 of the Planning and Development Act, where the organisation can dismiss appeals if it finds that they are vexatious, frivolous, or without substance or foundation.

Intel Ireland has made the request in documentation lodged with the appeals board, in response to the appeal made by Mr Reid.

Kildare County Council gave the project the go-ahead in May, but Mr Reid is trying to stop the massive investment from proceeding.

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

The appeal comes three years after Intel secured planning permission for the first phase of the Fab facility, valued at $4bn, which was also opposed by Mr Reid via An Bord Pleanála. In total, the two planning permissions represent an $8bn investment, which will employ 6,000 construction workers at the peak, and offer 1,600 full-time jobs on completion.

Intel has already invested $12.5bn at its Leixlip site.

In Mr Reid's five-page handwritten appeal, he claims that the plan is contrary to the proper planning and development of the area.

However, consultants for Intel Ireland, Jacobs Engineering, told the appeals board: "As with previous objections and previous appeals made by Mr Reid, it is submitted that much of the appeal is vexatious."

The consultants state that while the Reid appeal "cites many of the identified issues as comprising major impacts, it provides no substantiation, nor basis for such statements".

Jacobs Engineering states that Mr Reid has a number of concerns in his appeal "that we submit are unfounded".

Jacobs has now asked the appeals board to undertake its consideration of the Reid appeal "in as short a timeframe as possible", as many of the issues identified have already been addressed.

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

In Ireland, Intel supports 7,550 full-time equivalent jobs in addition to those it directly employs.

Irish Independent

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