Diageo wins planning permission for new €200m brewery in Co Kildare

Company says construction of brewery in Littleconnell will begin in early 2024, following withdrawal of appeal that stalled the project

An Bord Pleanála has given the green light to drinks giant Diageo to construct its planned €200 million brewery for Newbridge, Co Kildare.

With the appeals board granting planning permission to the project on Monday, the new brewery for Littleconnell is to provide a big jobs boost to the Kildare area, with up to 1,000 jobs during the 20-month construction period, and the creation of a further 70 jobs when operational.

The new facility, which will operate 24 hours a day, will brew lager and ales including Rockshore, Harp, Hop House 13, Smithwick’s, Kilkenny and Carlsberg. Reports last week indicated Diageo is planning to sell off most of its beer portfolio. The company said at the time it does not comment on market speculation.

In a statement on Monday, Diageo said that it expects to commence construction work on the project “in early 2024″.

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A spokeswoman for Diageo said that the company welcomes “the decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for Ireland’s first purpose-built, carbon-neutral brewery in Kildare”.

She said: “This €200 million investment by Diageo in Ireland will support the growth of our beer brands while meeting our targets to be net zero by 2030.

“The benefits of this project are compelling and we expect work to commence in early 2024,” she added.

Kildare County Council had granted planning permission for the project back in March but the brewery plan was stalled after a man at the centre of RTÉ Investigates allegations concerning pay-offs to objectors in the planning system, John Callaghan, appealed the decision through his Sustainability 2050 entity, while a separate appeal by a John Lynch from Athy, Co Kildare was also lodged with the appeals board.

Mr Callaghan withdrew his appeal on November 23rd and confirmed last week that no financial inducement was sought or offered in connection with the withdrawal of his appeal.

In an interview, Mr Callaghan said that he never had a meeting with Diageo or anyone representing Diageo concerning the Sustainability 2050 appeal in connection with the brewery plan.

This was confirmed by a spokeswoman for Diageo who said last week “we have not had contact of any kind with the individuals behind Sustainability 2050 either directly or indirectly”.

The John Lynch appeal remained “live”.

An Bord Pleanála has twice deferred a decision on the appeal due to the backlog in cases it is currently dealing with. In September, Diageo warned that the project is time sensitive “and further delays will jeopardise the rationale for this €200 million investment in Ireland”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times