Steel plant gets permission to expand despite local opposition

Dominican Contemplative Nuns among those objecting to the plans

Louth County Council has granted planning permission for a so-called state-of-the-art “hot-dip” galvanising plant on the outskirts of Drogheda that will lead to the creation of 110 jobs.

The council awarded planning permission to Co Meath firm Hibernia Steel (Manufacturing) Ltd despite a contemplative order of nuns raising concerns that the proposed steel processing plant will detrimentally affect the order’s essential “prayerful atmosphere”.

The plant at Mell, Drogheda which involves large-scale dipping tanks, will process 36,000 tonnes of steel annually.

The proposal faced local opposition with 60 submissions lodged with Louth County Council and objectors now have the option of appealing the decision to An Bord Pleanála.


The company lodged the application last May after the IDA confirmed that it had agreed to sell eight acres of land at Mell, Drogheda to Hibernia.

The council has granted planning after concluding that the proposed development supports Drogheda’s role as a regional growth centre and will deliver 110 jobs.

The planner in the case stated that he was satisfied the proposed location is a suitable one to cater for the development with existing road infrastructure in place, served by an excellent road providing access to the M1.

In a submission, Prioress at the Dominican Contemplative Nuns, Sr M Breda Carroll raised concerns over the plan on behalf of her order.

The Dominican Contemplative Nuns are based at the Monastery of St Catherine of Siena at The Twenties, Drogheda.

The monastery’s 8.5-acre site lies to the east of the planned steel plant site and in the submission, Sr Breda told the Council “we are concerned that this plant would seriously and detrimentally affect our way of life and the present prayerful atmosphere, which is essential to us”.

Sr Breda told the planners “we live our whole life within the confines of the monastery boundaries, a fact which heightens the importance of this space for us”.

She added “maintaining a quiet, peaceful atmosphere in the monastery and its surroundings is also of vital importance for many people who avail of our retreat facilities and visit our chapel”.

Sr Breda told the council that “we are concerned that the relative proximity of this plant will result in noise and air pollution in our area, especially since the prevailing winds tend to be from the west”.

The Prioress added: “We also wish to express the concern that it is inappropriate to situate such a plant in proximity to an area that is set to become highly residential.”

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times