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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘I would make the call to An Taisce to think about farmers’

Independent TD, Michael Healy-Rae, has condemned An Taisce’s decision to seek leave to appeal the Glanbia Belview cheese plant planning decision to the Supreme Court.

Healy-Rae believes the move “will hurt Ireland’s international reputation as a location for much sought-after Foreign Direct Investment”.

In turn, he foresees a “paralysing effect on rural communities and farmers”.

Glanbia Belview cheese plant

The Kerry TD made his calls in the wake of confirmation that despite the High Court upholding An Bord Pleanála’s grant of planning permission to Glanbia Ireland for a cheese processing facility in Kilkenny in partnership with the international dairy firm, Royal A-ware, that An Taisce has applied to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal the decision.

“It is bad enough that faceless people can in the name of the environment prevent people at a whim of building a house on their own land to now see them bold enough to prevent the creation of much-needed employment in the agri-food sector.”

“An Taisce has already held up this project for more than two years and now have the cheek to spit in the face of 4,500 farm families supplying milk to Glanbia Ireland.”

“I would make the call to An Taisce to drop this nonsensical appeal and think about the farmers, rural communities and workers involved.”

“Unfortunately, if my experience has taught me anything when dealing with An Taisce over a many long year, it is not to expect them ever to put people before their crusading.”

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An Taisce issues statement regarding Belview cheese plant

In a statement earlier this month, a spokesperson for An Taisce said it had based its decision on an “analysis of the legal aspects of the case”.

The decision is “rooted in the principles and values central to the mission and role of An Taisce – to protect and advocate for ecological resilience and the future viability of the natural environment”.

A spokesperson said: “Our concerns are increasingly underpinned by a series of reports from the Environmental Protection Agency and other authorities indicating the impacts of intensive agriculture on water and air quality and the increasing greenhouse gas emissions from that sector.”

“It is our conviction that the original judgment raised points of law that are of exceptional public importance and which require to be appealed in the public interest.”

“The judgment also creates a precedent in law that dilutes a number of important prior decisions that served to ensure rigorous assessment of the environmental impacts of proposed developments at the planning stage.”

An Taisce stated that is has considered this step “carefully”.

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