Local farmer Thomas Reid set to get back in the ring with Intel

by Padraig Conlon

Local farmer Thomas Reid is going to war with US tech giant Intel again in another planning dispute.

This time, he is attempting to stop the IT giant from expanding its Leixlip plant through a High Court challenge to An Bord Pleanala’s (ABP) decision last November to greenlight the €3.6bn expansion.

ABP gave the go-ahead for the project after finding that the plan would constitute a reasonable and orderly expansion of the existing manufacturing use at the location.

The proposal was opposed by Reid last June, who appealed the Kildare County Council decision.

The planning permission was granted three years after Intel secured planning permission for the first phase of the ‘FAB’ facility, valued at $4bn.

Overall, the two planning permissions represent a $8bn (€7.26bn) investment, that would employ 6,000 construction workers at its peak, and 1,600 full-time jobs on completion.

The construction work is expected to take four years, including two years of breaking and removing some 647,000 square metres of rock.

Previously, Reid unsuccessfully objected to the first phase of the expansion plans in 2017.

However, he was successful in 2015 in his fight with the IDA when the Supreme Court found that the IDA – in making a Compulsory Purchase Order for his 72-acre farm beside the Intel campus – had been in excess of its powers.

A spokesperson for Intel told Dublin Gazette:

“The planning process is a matter for An Bord Pleanala and it would be inappropriate for us to comment on it any further.”

Under the expansion plans, the size of the facility will increase by 30 acres.

Reid claims ABP’s approval decision was “rushed”, in error in law, and should be quashed.

Last Friday, January 17, Mr Justice Charles Meenan gave permission for Reid’s lawyers to bring an application next month for judicial review against ABP, with Intel as a notice party.

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