Abbott facility in Cootehill.

Abbott extension plans challenged in High Court

- Aoghan O Faoláin -

In the High Court

The owner of a well-known estate in Co Cavan has brought a High Court challenge against An Bord Pleanála's decision to grant planning permission for an agri-food plant to extend its manufacturing facility.

The action has been brought by John Moreharte, who owns the historic and protected Bellamont Castle, in Cootehill, Co Cavan, and surrounding 1,000 acres of land, which he claims includes Dromore Lake and river.

He is challenging the board's decision to allow Abbott Ireland to extend its existing facility that manufactures milk products for infants by an additional 2661m2.

The proposed extension, it is claimed, will see its laboratory, office space, car park and warehouse facilities increased.

Monaghan Co Council granted permission for the extension, which was appealed by both Mr Moreharte and An Taisce to the board.

Represented by Evan O'Donnell BL, instructed by Harrington solicitors, Mr Moreharte claims that his property is 1km from the facility, which is in Dromore, Co Monaghan.

He claims that the decision to grant planning permission is flawed on grounds including that the board failed to consider the proposed development in the context of its obligations under the EU Environmental Impact Assessment.

It claims that the EIA of the proposed development should have been carried out, given the facility will process over 100 tonnes of raw material per day.

It is also claimed that the board acted contrary to the EU Directive on Habitats in its determination of the application.

In his judicial review proceedings against the board, Mr Moreharte seeks an order quashing the board's decision of March 14 last allowing Abott to extend its existing facility.

Abbott Ireland and Monaghan Co Council are notice parties to the proceedings.

The matter was mentioned before Mr Justice Charles Meenan at the High Court on Monday, who adjourned the matter to a date later this month.