Cowen welcomes planning approval of Banagher beef processing plant

Published on: 08 June 2022

Fianna Fáil TD for Laois-Offaly, Barry Cowen, has welcomed planning approval for the long-awaited €25m meat processing plant in Banagher and has called on the Government to take action to reduce the time it takes for An Bord Pleanála to make decisions.
Offaly County Council had granted permission for the massive project back in August 2020 but that decision was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
Deputy Cowen said, “Obviously, I'm glad and delighted permission has finally been granted.  This development will be most welcome for the community and region in the first instance with the job creation associated with its construction but also of course as a competitive outlet for farming sector.  New competition ensures markets can be filled creating new opportunities thus allowing farm families get fair prices for quality produce.
"I intend now to engage with the promoters of Banagher Chilling project, review the grant of permission and any conditions attached with a view to progressing and proceeding to its construction."
Last May, Deputy Cowen received the support of the Dáil when he introduced a Bill which proposes to amend the Planning and Development Act 2000 to ensure that every appeal or referral is determined within a period of 12 weeks beginning on the date of receipt by the Board of the appeal or referral.
Emphasising the importance of action to reduce waiting times for planning approval, Deputy Cowen said, “Another lesson that must be acted on now is for government to move on the bill I put before the Dail last year which places onus on An Bord Pleanala to make decisions on appeals within a statutory time period of 12 weeks.  
“In this day and age at a time especially  of such increased costs associated with developments and at a time of housing crisis too, it is not good enough that proposed developments which meet all the necessary criteria and receive planning permission from the relevant local authority can be delayed by an ABP appeal for two years.
“The Judicial Review system then can further delay much needed, warranted and merited developments for possibly another 2/3 years. 
"Such delays and procrastination has curtailed this country’s response to the housing crisis and hampered/delayed and ensured the loss of some commercial developments.  It’s essential that Govt prescribe amendments to Planning and Development Act to unblock this serious impediment.''