Planning threat to 900 new jobs

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Regeneron-Pharmaceuticalsby Andrew Carey

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900 Limerick jobs are under threat after a planning objection was lodged by An Taisce against the the multi-million euro development proposed by bio-pharmaceutical giant Regeneron.

At the end of last year, the US firm announced plans to create 300 high-end full time positions with a further 600 jobs created in the reconstruction and refurbishment phase of the 11 acre former Dell plant on the Raheen Business Park.

However, the Limerick Post has learned that a planning objection has been lodged with An Bord Pleanála by An Taisce, the national trust.

Slamming it as a “reckless move”, Croom-based Fianna Fáil local election candidate, Séamus Sheahan, said the move will pose a major threat and is certain to delay the provision of the jobs.

“These jobs are badly needed and the appeal to An Bord Pleanála has the potential to cause a considerable delay to this project. What interest does An Taisce seek to service with this move? What can be more important than job creation in the economy?” Mr Sheahan questioned.

It is understood that An Taisce’s submission centres around the infrastructure and accessibility to the area and concerns for traffic.

The proposed €218 million investment by Regeneron in a new biopharmaceutical facility at the site of the former Dell plant is seen as hugely significant for Limerick and would be a considerable boost for the jobs industry here.

“I believe the appeal by An Taisce is on traffic grounds, which is difficult to understand and could have the potential to derail the whole process. The fact that this facility at Raheen Business Park is served by a motorway, a tunnel and an extensive modern road network seems to be lost on An Taisce.

“This has the potential to threaten the entire project and the Government must now consider amending the strategic planning process, especially where hundreds of jobs are at stake”,  Mr Sheahan said

New York-headquartered Regeneron Pharmaceuticals markets medicines for eye diseases, colorectal cancer, and a rare inflammatory condition, and has product candidates in development in other areas of high unmet medical need, including hypercholesterolemia, oncology, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis.