Campaigners against proposed Skibbereen plastics factory want issue returned to An Bord Pleanála

Campaigners against a proposed plastics factory in Skibbereen have hailed a High Court ruling that the issue be returned to An Bord Pleanála for consideration and a possible Natura Impact Statement.

Campaigners against proposed Skibbereen plastics factory want issue returned to An Bord Pleanála

Campaigners against a proposed plastics factory in Skibbereen have hailed a High Court ruling that the issue be returned to An Bord Pleanála for consideration and a possible Natura Impact Statement.

Cork County Council initially granted planning permission for the 4,800 sq/km thermoplastics facility at Poundlick on the outskirts of town and when that was appealed, An Bord Pleanála granted permission for it to proceed last November - despite its own inspector advising against it.

That led to a fundraising campaign under the banner of the Save Our Skibbereen (SOS) group and the High Court challenge to the Bord's ruling, with Cork County Council as an interested party.

The company behind the plan, Daly Products Ltd, a subsidiary of US multinational RTP Company, has said the plant would lead to 40 jobs, while the proposal was backed by some county councillors and the IDA. High-profile figures such as David Puttnam and Jeremy Irons lent their support to those opposed to the factory.

An Bord Pleanála has now consented to the High Court granting an Order of Certiorari quashing its decision of last November, with the proposal now remitted to the Bord for further consideration.

It is understood this may involve a request to Daly Products Limited for a Natura Impact Statement, with campaigners saying this is likely to take up to 18 months.

Chief appellant and SOS chairman, Brendan McCarthy, said the group is delighted with the judgement but will continue its campaign.

"We are not going to be jumping on the rooftops or triumphalist - it is about common sense prevailing," he said.

Mr McCarthy, whose property is across the road from the site of the proposed factory, said the fundraising campaign was hugely successful and that it will respond as required in its efforts to make sure that the plan never goes ahead.

It came a day after a judge hearing a judicial review of the granting of a licence for what would be the country's largest kelp-harvesting operation said she had no jurisdiction to review the licence.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy said the Government has yet to fulfil all the legal procedures required to issue such a licence, which was granted to Tralee-based company BioAtlantis in relation to a site off the coast of Bantry Bay.

It is understood a judicial review was dismissed because of a technical issue involving the Department of Housing, which granted the licence, not having published details of the initial granting of the licence in 2011 in Iris Oifigiúil, the official Irish State gazette.

Just last month, in separate injunction proceedings, Ms Justice Murphy found in favour of BioAtlantis and the Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

However, the decision in the subsequent judicial review of the granting of the licence by the relevant Minister has now cast doubt of the future of the kelp harvesting project.

A spokesperson for the Department of Housing said: "In relation to the High Court Hearing yesterday the Department has received a decision and it is being examined in the Department."

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