Intel seeks powers to end 'vexatious' objection

Intel seeks powers to end 'vexatious' objection

Intel Ireland has requested An Bord Pleanála to invoke rarely used powers to dismiss what the company claims is the "vexatious" appeal by farmer Thomas Reid against its planned $4bn (€3.6bn) investment in Kildare.

Intel has claimed that much of the appeal lodged by Mr Reid against the technology company's planned new manufacturing facility at its existing Leixlip plant "is vexatious”.

The Irish arm of the computer chip giant has requested An Bord Pleanála to invoke Section 138 of the Planning and Development Act, where the board can dismiss appeals if it finds that an appeal is vexatious, frivolous or without substance or foundation.

Intel Ireland has made the request in documentation lodged with the appeals board in response to the appeal made by Mr Reid.

Kildare County Council gave the project the go-ahead in May but Mr Reid is single-handedly trying to stop the massive investment proceeding.

Mr Reid, who lives near Maynooth, has long been a thorn in the side of the US multinational in the planning arena and this is the seventh Intel application he has brought before An Bord Pleanála since 2012.

The planning permission was granted three years after Intel secured planning permission for the first phase of the so-called manufacturing fabrication - or FAB - facility valued at $4bn - which was also opposed by Mr Reid to An Bord Pleanála.

In total, the two planning permissions represent an $8bn investment which will employ 6,000 construction workers at peak and 1,600 full time jobs on completion.

The projects represent the largest single private investment in the history of the State on one project if given the go-ahead by Intel globally.

Intel has already invested $12.5bn on its site at Leixlip.

In Mr Reid’s five page hand-written appeal, he claimed that the proposal is contrary to the proper planning and development of the area and has requested an oral hearing.

However, consultants for Intel Ireland, Jacobs Engineering has told the appeals board: "As with previous objections and previous appeals made by Mr Reid, it is submitted that much of the appeal is vexatious."

The consultants said that while the Reid appeal "cites many of the identified issues as comprising major impacts, it provides no substantiation, nor basis for such statements."

Jacobs Engineering said that Mr Reid has a number of concerns in his appeal "that we submit are unfounded."

The consultancy has asked the appeals board to undertake their consideration of the Reid appeal "in as short a timeframe as possible" as many of the issues identified in the appeal have been already assessed and addressed.

Last year, Mr Reid was the subject of an award-winning documentary over his successful Supreme Court battle with the IDA concerning the use of compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers.

In 2015, Mr Reid emerged victorious in his battle with the IDA when the Supreme Court found that the IDA's making of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for Mr Reid’s 72 acre farm adjacent to the Intel campus had been in excess of the IDA’s powers.

A decision is due on the Intel case in October.

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