Having consulted with key stakeholders on the planning application for over a year, Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly, Barry Cowen, has welcomed the application made by Banagher Chilling Ltd to expand an existing abattoir between Cloghan and Banagher.

“The application, which also provides for the building of ancillary facilities will enable the slaughtering and processing of beef cattle for the Chinese market primarily.

Deputy Cowen explained, “I have been liaising with personnel from the company together with my brother Brian since they first indicated to us their interest in exploring the possibility of developing the existing abattoir after acquiring adjacent lands at Boheradurrow.

“The preparation of all necessary documentation has been ongoing during the course of the past year and is the subject of a proposed investment by Chinese partners in addition to the promoters themselves.

“It is now a matter for the Planning Authority in Offaly County Council to independently process the application that has been submitted in the standard way.

“I welcome the significant economic benefit that this proposed development can bring to the West Offaly area in terms of its construction and subsequent employment opportunities at the meat plant, subject to a successful outcome for the planning permission application.

“The need to identify alternative employment opportunities in the area given the transition taking place in Bord an Mona and the ESB is a pressing one.

“I trust that this application can proceed within the statutory period set out in legislation, given the detailed pre-planning contacts that have already taken place in an effort to address all necessary aspects of the planning requirements for a project of this nature.

“I understand it is the intention of the promoters to bring the details of the planning project to the attention of the local area during the course of the planning process itself for the purpose of explaining to locals the nature of the proposal they are now submitting to the County Council Planning Department. I welcome this engagement.

“I and our County Councillors representing the area, Eamon Dooley and Peter Ormonde will be closely monitoring the application as it is being processed by the County Council and look forward to a successful outcome”, he concluded.