The High Court has been asked to amend the grounds of a legal challenge brought against An Bord Pleanála’s decision to allow Intel Ireland proceed with a €3.76 billion expansion of its Co Kildare plant.
The action has been brought against the board by Thomas Reid, who lives a short distance from the Intel Campus at Collinstown, outside Leixlip. The plant employs 4,500 people.
The proposed expansion, if given the go ahead, would be one of the largest construction projects in the history of the state.
Mr Reid claims a decision by An Bord Pleanála in late 2019, giving Intel permission to extended and revise its manufacturing facility, was contrary to EU Council directives, lacked sufficient reasons and was contrary to fair procedures and should be quashed.
Intel is a notice party to the action.
In a pre-trial motion Intel has asked the court that aspects of Mr Reid’s action be amended and that certain material, documents relating to scientific and technical issues the applicant seeks to use, be excluded from the case.
Brian Kennedy SC for Intel said it wanted the claim amended, as Mr Reid is seeking to argue issues before the High Court that counsel said should have, but were not raised, by the applicant when the board was considering the matter.
He had every opportunity to make those arguments in his submissions to the board, but failed to do so, counsel added.
Intel’s application is supported by the board.
Rory Mulchay SC for the board argued that Mr Reid “let the opportunity go” to raise certain issues before the board, before it arrived at its decision to grant permission, that he now seeks to raises in the court action.
The applicant should not be allowed put those particular arguments before the court, counsel further argued.
Case in its entirety
Mr Reid, represented by James Devlin SC, opposed the motion and said that Mr Reid should be allowed make his case in its entirety and present all the material included as part of the claim to the court.
The application was heard by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys, the judge in charge of the High Court’s strategic infrastructure development and commercial planning list.
Following the conclusion of submissions from the parties the judge reserved his decision on the motion.
The full hearing of the action will take place later this year.
Intel claims that proposed works form part of a strategic initiative to ensure that its Irish campus is optimised for next generation of investment within the Intel corporation, when major future capital investments are being considered.
Intel says its campus is one of the most technologically advanced manufacturing processes in Europe and is to the forefront globally in the production of the firm’sprocess technology.
Under the November 2019 planning permission, Intel estimates that the proposed works will cost some €3.76 billion, and 3,000 construction workers will be required over an estimated four-year building programme.
In 2015, Mr Reid won a landmark Supreme Court decision against IDA Ireland over the use of compulsory purchase orders for his 29-hectare Hedsor House farm, which is next to the US chip giant’s current 160-hectare campus in Leixlip.
He had sued the IDA and the State after the IDA notified him of its intention to acquire the land.
The Supreme Court unanimously overturned a High Court decision and ruled the compulsory purchase could not go ahead.