Country Estate Owner Challenges Decision to Extend Agri-Food Plant

John Morehart, the owner of the Bellamont Castle in Cootehill, Co Cavan, has brought new challenges in the High Court over the decision to extend Abbott Ireland’s agri-food plant in Dromore, Co Monaghan. Morehart owns the historic country estate and surrounding 1,000 acres of land, and he has raised concerns about the impact the proposed development will have on his property.

Abbott Ireland, a company that produces milk products for infants, applied to Monaghan County Council for permission to expand its facilities. The proposed development includes an extension of the laboratory, office space, car park, and warehouse, as well as the installation of powder silos and a new wastewater treatment plant.

The council granted permission for the development, which was later appealed by Morehart to An Bord Pleanála. In his first set of proceedings, Morehart seeks to quash the council’s decision, claiming that the permission is “seriously flawed.” He argues that the Environmental Impact Assessment report fails to consider crucial impacts such as emissions, climate change, and cultural heritage.

In his second set of proceedings, Morehart challenges An Bord Pleanála’s refusal to allow him to appeal the council’s decision. He claims that the board’s decision is flawed as it did not provide proper reasons for the refusal and failed to engage with his submissions.

Abbott Ireland is a notice party in both actions, and the council is a notice party in the second set of proceedings. The case has been adjourned to a date in November.

Bellamont Castle, developed in the 18th century by architect Edward Lovett Pearse, holds historical significance, and Morehart is concerned about preserving the integrity of the estate in the face of any potential adverse effects from the agri-food plant’s expansion.

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– Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA): A report that assesses the environmental effects of a proposed development project.
– An Bord Pleanála: An independent, statutory body in Ireland that makes decisions on planning appeals and strategic infrastructure development projects.