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Politicians call on An Taisce to withdraw objection to Glanbia cheese plant

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Limits: Glanbia says it will be unable to process peak milk supplies from its suppliers from 2022 to 2024 and a penalty of up to 30pc will apply to milk supplies above the new peak season limits

Limits: Glanbia says it will be unable to process peak milk supplies from its suppliers from 2022 to 2024 and a penalty of up to 30pc will apply to milk supplies above the new peak season limits

Limits: Glanbia says it will be unable to process peak milk supplies from its suppliers from 2022 to 2024 and a penalty of up to 30pc will apply to milk supplies above the new peak season limits

A number of politicians, including former ministers have called on An Taisce to withdraw its objection to a planned cheese plant by Glanbia.

Four current Fine Gael TDs and former Ministers, Charlie Flanagan (Laois/Offaly), Paul Kehoe (Wexford), John Paul Phelan (Carlow Kilkenny) and David Stanton (Cork East) have strongly criticised An Taisce and accused the body of delaying a €140m investment in a cheese plant on the Kilkenny Waterford border.

“The decision by the state-funded non-governmental organisation, An Taisce, is a serious blow to dairy farmers in Leinster. The decision to block the new Glanbia cheese plant at Belview is bad for jobs, bad for rural Ireland and bad for farm families," they said in a statement.

Earlier this month, a High Court case commenced between Glanbia Ireland and An Taisce over proposed plans to build a €140m continental cheese plant in Belview.

According to the politicians, the proposed new Cheese plant is fully in line with government policy on dairy production and recognises the need for the dairy industry to diversify and mitigate against the damage caused by Brexit.

“This new exciting cheese plant received permission from the local authority and has the backing from An Bord Pleanála. Many young progressive dairy farmers have decided to invest in rural Ireland and Agriculture. They have borrowed heavily to acquire modern technology. They have invested in the rural economy and they now face serious financial loss. Jobs will be lost.

“It is clear to me that the Court action taken by An Taisce chose a clear anti-rural economy bias and is vexatious. An Taisce should withdraw this divisive Court Action."

Fianna Fail MEP Billy Kelleher also issued a statement saying that "iIt appears to me that certain NGOs feel that they, rather than the Irish government, should set government agri-food policy.”

“An Taisce have opposed the development on the basis that any increase in dairy production, which would be needed for the cheese plant to operate, would be ‘untenable’.

“The Department of Agriculture, and the Irish Government, have decided that they want to increase dairy production in Ireland. An Taisce do not get to decide what government policy is; the Irish Government do. It is planned, and supported by the Government, to increase dairy production to 9.49 billion litres by 2027.

“This milk has to go somewhere. The proposed Glanbia cheese facility where they plan to make Gouda for the European market is an ideal destination for this additional milk supply.

“An Taisce’s planning and legal challenges are damaging to job creation in terms of construction, and damaging to Irish dairy farmers who will feel the pinch in 2022 when Glanbia apply caps on production due to the failure of the new plant to open on time.

“We need a quick decision on their spurious challenges so that we can move on with developing the production facility and ensuring that dairy farmers do not lose out.

“Furthermore, I would call on Glanbia to work with dairy farmers to find alternatives to cuts in production levels. With all the additional ferry capacity, perhaps milk can be shipped to plants overseas rather than seeing farmers lose out?” he said.

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