Thu. Sep 21st, 2023
    Owner of Country Estate Challenges Extension of Agri-Food Plant

    John Morehart, the owner of the historic Bellamont Castle in Cootehill, Co Cavan, has brought fresh challenges in the High Court over a decision allowing a nearby agri-food plant to extend its manufacturing facility. The plant in question is owned by Abbott Ireland and is located approximately one kilometre from Mr. Morehart’s property.

    Abbott Ireland, which produces milk products for infants, sought permission from Monaghan Co Council to expand its laboratory, office space, car park, and warehouse facilities. The company also wants to change an existing warehouse facility to accommodate its industrial processes, relocate water tanks, and install new powder silos and a wastewater treatment plant. The council granted permission for the proposed development in February, but Mr. Morehart appealed the decision to An Board Pleanála.

    In his first set of judicial review proceedings against the council, Mr. Morehart seeks to have the permission quashed, claiming it is “seriously flawed.” He argues that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report failed to consider the impacts on emissions, climate change, cultural heritage, local development plans, and hydrology. Additionally, Mr. Morehart claims that the proposed extraction of water from local waterways, which is part of the development, requires the use of his lands, but he was not consulted or given consent for these works.

    In his second set of proceedings, Mr. Morehart challenges An Board Pleanála’s refusal to allow him to appeal the council’s decision. He claims that the board’s decision lacks proper reasoning and failed to consider his submissions regarding his desire to appeal. He also argues that a report submitted to the board stated that he met all the requirements to make an application for permission to appeal the council’s decision.

    An Taisce, a third party, has been granted permission to appeal the council’s decision as well. Both actions have been adjourned to a date in November after submissions were made before Mr. Justice Liam Kennedy.

    Abbott Ireland is involved in both actions, and the council is involved in the action against the board. This is not the first legal action brought by Mr. Morehart concerning the extension of Abbott’s facility. He previously brought a separate action in 2022 against An Board Pleanála, which was later resolved.

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