The move by An Bord Pleanála to delay its decision to grant planning permission for a new meat processing facility in Banagher has only served to hamper the introduction of much needed competition within the sector.
That is according to Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan who said An Bord Pleanála had been due to publish its decision on the matter on Monday, January 4th. This, she added, was subsequently pushed back after an appeal was lodged with the authority in August.
Banagher beef plant
“It has been clear to almost everyone involved in this process just how important this new facility could be in terms of stimulating the local rural economy, expanding market competition, and making Offaly attractive site capable of generating inward investment.”
“Unfortunately, any kind of resolution to the project has being delayed yet again, and on what I would consider to be very weak grounds.”
“As I understand it, An Bord Pleanála accepted the appeal on the questionable grounds of whether the local authority had adhered to government policy.”
“But we know for a fact, that the current Programme for Government states it is fully committed to the future of the beef sector and introducing steps to mitigate the serious hardship and low-income challenges that beef farmers have experienced.”
“Some of the clearest ways to achieve these outcomes is by supporting competition and reducing the existing cartel-like structure and monopoly. The Banagher facility would certainly play an important role in all of this.”
The communities of Offaly and indeed the wider midlands region deserve clarity and commitment to this project, Nolan said.
“That is not being helped by the acceptance of grounds for appeal that have little if any relationship to reality,” concluded Deputy Nolan.