Way clear for Intel to get go-ahead for €3.5bn Leixlip facility

The way is now clear for Intel to get the go-ahead for its planned $4bn (€3.53bn) manufacturing fabrication (FAB) facility at its Leixlip plant from Kildare County Council.

This follows the firm issuing replies to all queries the Council had placed on Intel’s ambitious plan last month.

In a sign of the urgency that Intel is attaching to its planning application, the US firm took just seven days to issue its response to the various queries - this is in contrast to other applications for large industry where replies for further information can take months.

However, even if the chip giant secures planning permission next month, the decision is open for third parties to appeal to An Bord Pleanála which would put back a final decision towards the final quarter of this year.

Local farmer, Thomas Reid has lodged an objection against the plan and Mr Reid has long been a thorn in the side of the US multinational in the planning arena and this is the seventh Intel Leixlip application the farmer has objected to since 2012 with six previous Intel applications brought before An Bord Pleanála by Mr Reid.

The country’s most high profile planning activist, Peter Sweetman has also lodged a submission on the plan - Mr Sweetman has previously declared “I am a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) and Ireland is my back yard.”

In 2016, Intel secured planning permission for the first phase of its FAB facility valued at $4 billion (€3.53bn) and the new application, which is an extension of the original plan, represents an additional investment of $4 billion (€3.53bn).

In total, the $8 billion (€7 billion) investment - which will employ 6,000 construction workers at peak and 1,600 full time jobs on completion - will represent the largest single private investment in the history of the State on one project if given the go-ahead by Intel globally.

Consultants for Intel have told Kildare County Council that the firm has already invested $12.5 billion (€11bn) on its site at Leixlipand the firm is seeking a 10-year planning permission for its new application.

The primary aspect of the Council’s further information request last month concerned an Eirgrid connection to facilitate the new plant.

The Council asked Intel to set out the cumulative effects of the Intel plan and a new 220k sub-station to provide the electricity for the proposal.

However, in its further information response, Intel stress that a new 220k sub-station is not required to be in place in order for the FAB plant to proceed.

Instead, Intel state that the new FAB plant will be powered via existing Intel site grid infrastructure - transmission lines and infrastructure - until such time time as the EirGrid project is implemented and connected to the entire Intel facility.

Intel stress that the EirGrid project is an improvement to an existing supply - to facilitate secure and reliable supply to the Intel site and the wider community.

On the concerns expressed by Mr Reid of Hedsor House, Blakestown, Carton, Maynooth and other third parties to the development, consultants for Intel state that the information it has provided in the application shows “that the legitimate concerns of agencies and of our neighbours have been anticipated and comprehensively addressed in the application”.

Mr Reid unsuccessfully opposed the $4 billion (€3.53bn) first phase of the FAB plan in 2017 when lodging an objection against the application and then appealing the Council decision to An Bord Pleanála.

In relation to Mr Reid’s specific concerns over visual impact, roads and air emissions on the new plan, Intel state that it has provided the relevant information concerning those headings.

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