Wednesday 22 November 2017

Land victory farmer bids to stop Intel extension

Farmer Thomas Reid, of Hedsor House, Maynooth
Farmer Thomas Reid, of Hedsor House, Maynooth
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A FARMER who stopped the IDA from compulsorily acquiring his land beside Intel's huge Kildare chip factory, has appealed a decision by the local council to grant permission to the tech giant for a massive extension.

The move comes as another major planned tech project, the first element of a €1bn data centre campus planned for Dublin by internet giant Amazon, is also appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

In 2015, Thomas Reid of Hedsor House in Kildare won a Supreme Court appeal against a decision by the High Court to allow the IDA to compulsorily acquire land he and his family had worked for more than a century.

He sued the IDA and the State after an order was granted permitting the development agency to acquire the 72-acre property, which includes a farm and the Reid family home.

Mr Reid did not want to sell his land. He claimed the decision to allow the acquisition of it was flawed and unfair and breached his property rights as well as his rights under the Constitution and European Convention of Human Rights.

The IDA had argued it was entitled to acquire Mr Reid's lands under powers granted in the 1986 Industrial Development Act.

But the Supreme Court found that the making of the compulsory purchase order in 2012 for Mr Reid's lands had gone beyond the powers of the Act.

Last month, Kildare County Council approved plans by Intel Ireland to expand its mammoth facility in Leixlip that would put the Irish site in the running for a potential $4bn (€3.6bn) investment.

But there's no immediate intention to build, as the Irish unit has to vie with other global Intel sites for investment.

"The planning application is part of a strategic initiative by the Intel Ireland site to ensure that the designated campus is optimised and is in a competitively-placed position to compete for next generation investment within the Intel corporation when major future capital investment decisions are being considered," planners for Intel noted.

An Bord Pleanála will make a decision by the end of September. It will also make a decision by that date in the appeal taken in the Amazon case.

A key opponent of Apple's data centre project in Co Galway, Allan Daly, has appealed a decision by Fingal County Council to grant permission to Amazon for the first part of what could be a €1bn data centre project, amid energy usage concerns.

Another objector, architect David Hughes, told An Bord Pleanála that the financial benefit derived from data centre jobs will be eclipsed by EU fines of up to €300m a year. He claims these could be levied if Ireland fails to meet a target of producing 40pc of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Irish Independent

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