Court asked to amend grounds of challenge to Intel’s Kildare expansion

Planning decision should be quashed, argues householder who lives near Intel campus

Thomas Reid, who lives close to Intel’s Leixlip plant in Co Kildare. Photograph: Feargal Ward

Thomas Reid, who lives close to Intel’s Leixlip plant in Co Kildare. Photograph: Feargal Ward

 

The High Court has been asked to amend the grounds of a legal challenge brought over An Bord Pleanála’s decision to allow Intel Ireland to 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 which 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, was contrary to fair procedures and should be quashed.

Intel is a notice party to the action.

In a pretrial motion, Intel has asked the court to direct 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 were not raised by the applicant when the board was considering the matter.

Mr Reid had had every opportunity to make those arguments in his submissions to the board but had failed to do so, counsel added.

Intel’s application is supported by the board.

Rory Mulcahy SC, for the board, argued Mr Reid “let the opportunity go” to raise certain issues before the board before it granted permission but now seeks to raise those in the court action. He should not be allowed put those particular arguments before the court, counsel argued.

Opposing the motion

Mr Reid, represented by James Devlin SC, opposed the motion and said Mr Reid should be allowed to make his case in its entirety and present all the material included as part of the claim.

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, the judge reserved his decision on the application.

The full hearing of the action will take place later this year.

Intel claims the proposed works form part of a strategic initiative to ensure that its Irish campus is optimised for the 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 at the forefront globally in the production of the group’s process 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.