The way is now clear for Intel to get approval for its planned $4bn (€3.53bn) facility at its Leixlip plant after it replied to all the queries that Kildare County Council had placed regarding its ambitious plan last month. In a sign of the urgency that Intel is attaching to its planning application, the US multinational took just seven days to issue its response to the various queries over the manufacturing fabrication (FAB) plan. 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 a final decision back towards the final quarter of this year.
Local farmer Thomas Reid has lodged an objection against the plan, the seventh Intel Leixlip application the farmer has objected to since 2012. The previous objections were 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 $4bn. The new application, which is an extension of the original plan, represents an additional investment of $4bn. In total, the $8bn 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 $12.5bn its site at Leixlip and 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. The council asked Intel to set out the cumulative effects of the plan and a new 220k sub-station to provide the electricity for the proposal. However, in its further information response, Intel stressed that a new 220k sub-station is not required.
Intel said the new plant will be powered via existing Intel site grid infrastructure until such time as the EirGrid project is implemented and connected to the entire Intel facility. Intel stressed 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 said 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”.