NGO opposes rural cheese plant AGAIN – citing climate concerns

Rural TDs have spoken out strongly yet again at An Taisce’s latest decision to appeal a Supreme Court decision granting planning permission for a cheese plant in Co. Kilkenny.

An Taisce – Ireland’s oldest NGO, which receives €3.5 million in taxpayer-funding per year – has repeatedly objected to the cheese plant’s construction, and drawn fire from rural communities and politicians for it.

Notably, Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath of the Rural Independent Group spoke out strongly against the recent development.

“It is completely outrageous that An Taisce would seek to appeal the High Court Ruling,” McGrath said.

“This demonstrates a very severe level of bitterness and a deeply rooted anti-rural agenda by An Taisce. Given the behaviour of this organisation, we are calling on the government to de-list An Taisce as a prescribed body under the Planning Acts.”

McGrath and his independent group had previously called for the NGO to be defunded, accusing them of an “utter lack of consideration to the rural economy, where every job is essential.”

“This plant would create many jobs and support the agri-food sector and the region,” McGrath previously said.

“An Taisce’s fanatical stance shows no understanding for the common good. Perhaps what is even more perplexing here is the fact that An Taisce have stated, in their defence of seeking this review, that their basis for doing so, is the government’s climate action strategy.

“This illustrates the dangers of the carbon legislation to the agriculture sector and provides a basis for this reckless appeal, which attacks the dairy sector by claiming it has too many cows.”

In addition, Tipperary Independent Michael Lowry described the NGO’s latest move a “misuse of their authority and an abuse of power.”

“I object strenuously to what An Taisce is doing,” Lowry said.

“The reality of the situation is that farmers in a wide region, including across Tipperary, have invested heavily in order to increase their milk supplies in preparation for this new plant.

“What is now happening is that increased numbers of milk trucks are travelling the country as a result of the larger supply of milk that has to be processed. This goes totally against the aim of reducing damage to the environment.”

Lowry pointed out that An Taisce’s objections to date had led to a two-year delay, and would now “delay the project indefinitely.”

“This would be bad for farmers, bad for rural communities and would hurt Ireland’s reputation internationally as a location for much-needed foreign direct investment,” he said.

Moreover, The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) called the move “regrettable and a clear-cut case of agency overreach.”

For more on this, make sure to check out Gript’s interview with Offaly TD Carol Nolan on An Taisce and the state of the NGO sector more broadly.

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