Cavan estate owner challenges Abbott's plans to extend manufacturing facility
High Court reporters
The owner of a well-known estate in Co Cavan has brought fresh High Court challenges over a decision allowing a nearby agri-food plant to extend its manufacturing facility.
The actions have been brought by John Morehart, who owns the historic Bellamont Castle in Cootehill, Co Cavan and surrounding 1000 acres of forestry, grounds and waterways arising out of Monaghan County Council's decision to allow Abbott Ireland to extend its facility in Dromore, Co Monaghan.
The facility is located approximately one kilometre from Mr Morehart's property.
The company, which makes milk products for infants at its facility, applied to the council for permission to expand its laboratory, office space, car park and warehouse facilities.
It also seeks to change existing warehouse facility to accommodate its industrial processes, relocate existing water tanks and install four powder silos and a new wastewater treatment plant.
The council granted permission for the proposed development in February, but the decision was appealed by Mr Morehart to An Bord Pleanála.
Mr Morehart, who has concerns about the impact the proposed development will have on his property, brought two sets of judicial review proceedings over the decision.
In his first set of proceedings against the council, Mr Morehart seeks an order quashing the council's decision to grant permission, claiming the permission is "seriously flawed".
It should be set aside on grounds including that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report concerning the proposed development fails to consider the impacts on emissions, climate change, cultural heritage, local development plans and hydrology, he claims.
Mr Morehart further submits that a part of the proposed works, relating to the extraction of water from local waterways, requires the use of lands he owns.
He claims he was never asked for, nor has he given, his consent for any of these proposed works to carried out on his property.
In the second set of proceedings, Mr Morehart, who failed to make a submission to the council on the planning application within the prescribed period to time, seeks to challenge An Board Pleanála's refusal to allow him to seek to appeal the council's decision to grant permission.
A third party, An Taisce, has been allowed to appeal the council's decision.
He claims the board's decision, made last March, is flawed as it failed to give proper reasons for its refusal. He also submits that it failed to consider or engage at all with his submissions regarding his bid to appeal.
He further claims in that action that a report was furnished to the board that stated he met all the requirements for the making of an application for permission to appeal the council's decision.
Abbott Ireland is a notice party to both actions, while the council is also a notice party to his action against the board.
The applications both came before Mr Justice Liam Kennedy during Tuesday's vacation sitting of the High Court.
Following submissions by Michael O'Donnell Bl, instructed by Harrington and Company Solicitors, for Mr Morehart, Mr Justice Kennedy directed that the applications for permission to bring the actions be made on notice, or in the presence of the other parties.
The judge adjourned both actions to a date in November.
Earlier this year, Mr Morehart resolved a separate High Court action he had brought in 2022 against the board over a decision granting Abbot permission to extend its Dromore facility.
Mr Morehart acquired the property in 2015, which was developed in the 18th century by the renowned architect Edward Lovett Pearse for then Lord Chief Justice of Ireland Thomas Coote.