Fianna Fáil TD for Laois-Offaly Barry Cowen has said he is “confident” that there will be further progress in the development of a €40 million beef factory for Offaly.
Proposals had run into difficulties at the start of August following the rejection of an application for residency under the Immigrant Investment Programme.
Approval was blocked on foot of observations made by the Department of Agriculture, Cowen outlined.
Promoters have since provided a series of clarifications in response to these observations, which Cowen believes will allow the plant to progress.
Improve prices for producers
Deputy Cowen commented, “It is obviously not ideal that difficulties have been experienced in developing this project.”
“At a time when the Midlands are facing a difficult transition away from peat extraction, the provision of 250 construction jobs and 150 jobs thereafter is an important investment for the region.”
“This project offers a unique and welcome opportunity to create jobs in Offaly, provide direct access to Asian markets and increase competition in the beef industry raising the potential to improve prices for producers.”
The rejection of the Immigrant Investment Programme application was “regrettable”, particularly in light of the planning permission recently provided by Offaly County Council, he said.
“I have engaged closely with promotors throughout this process and I believe that the submission provided by the Department of Agriculture missed several important elements of this project.”
“Having engaged with departmental officials on this project on foot of new submissions made by the promoter, I believe important clarifications have now been made.”
“These include the nature of the offering to Chinese markets, the high standards to be implemented at the plant and the strategic value of the plant going forward.”
“I have every confidence that there is now a greater understanding of the project and the benefits it can bring to both Offaly and at a national level,” the deputy concluded.