A farmer’s legal challenge to a decision of An Bord Pleanala giving the go-ahead to Intel Ireland's €3.76bn expansion of its Co Kildare plant is to be heard in the fast track Commercial Court.
Mr Justice David Barniville on Monday admitted the proceedings to the Commercial Court to be heard over seven days next December.
The judge said the case involved commercial proceedings in relation to a very substantial commercial project which will give employment to 3000 construction workers.
The application to fast track the case had been made by Intel Ireland Ltd which is a notice party to the judicial review proceedings brought by farmer Thomas Reid. Mr Reid lives 450 metres from the Intel campus just outside Leixlip, Co Kildare, which employs 4,500 people.
The court heard there was no objection to the admission of the case to the Commercial Court list.
In 2015, Mr Reid won a landmark Supreme Court decision against IDA Ireland over the use of compulsory purchase orders for his 72-acre Hedsor House farm, which is next to the US chip giant’s current 160 hectare campus in Collinstown, Leixlip.
In the currents proceedings, Mr Reid has claimed the November 2019 decision of An Bord Pleanala giving the go ahead for an extended and revised manufacturing facility was contrary to EU Council directives, lacked sufficient reasons and was contrary to fair procedures and should be quashed.
In an affidavit to the Commercial Court, InteL Ireland manager of construction Niall Dillon said the upgrade of the Intel Irish facility is essential to ensuring that it remains a key location globally in the production of cutting edge technology. He said it was also part of the strategic initiative by Intel to ensure that its Irish campus is optimised for next generation investment within the Intel corporation when major future capital investments are being considered.
Mr Dillion said the Intel Leixlip campus is one of the most technologically advanced manufacturing processes in Europe and is to the forefront globally in the production of Intel’s process technology.
He said the total cost under the previous 2017 planning permission was in the region of €3.24bn and he said Intel has spent in excess of €800m carrying out further development resulting in the creation of 1,900 construction jobs.
Under the November 2019 planning permission, Mr Dillon said it is estimated it will cost an additional €3,76bn and 3,000 construction workers will be required over an estimated four year building programme. He said work had begun but had been temporarily ceased at the end of March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Construction was recommenced on Mary 18 last and is now ongoing, he said.
Mr Dillon said Intel is anxious to ensure the judicial review proceedings are determined as expeditiously as possible given the commercial aspects of the proceedings. He said Intel had moved to have the case admitted to the Commercial list having regard to the progress of the proceedings to date and the unprecedented impact on the conduct of litigation brought about by Covid-19 restrictions.
The case will come back before the court for hearting on December 8.
In 2015, Mr Reid won a Supreme Court bid to stop the IDA forcing him to sell land that has been in his family for more than a century.
He had sued the IDA and the State after the IDA notified him of its intention to acquire the land.
Five Supreme Court judges unanimously overturned a High Court decision and ruled the compulsory purchase could not go ahead.