Planning objection puts €400 million Limerick project on hold

Computer generated image of the proposed Eli Lilly biopharmaceutical campus in Raheen.

LIMERICK City and County Council’s failure to maintain a wastewater canal has been cited by a local landowner as the reason for his objection to the development of a €400 million manufacturing plant at the Raheen Business Park.

Mungret farmer Tom Ryan lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against the council’s decision to grant planning permission to Eli Lilly for a biopharmaceutical manufacturing campus that would create 300 permanent jobs as well as 500 jobs during the construction phase.

Expressing concerns over his land being flooded with contaminated water, Mr Ryan claimed that the Loughmore canal, which enters the Barnakyle River through his lands, had not been maintained by the local authority as agreed with local landowners.

Before Mr Ryan lodged his appeal, Eli Lilly submitted revised plans to reposition the 47,400 square metre building after concerns were raised by council planners about its impact on a protected species of meadow barley found on the site.

The proposed development would comprise a four-storey manufacturing building, a two-storey canteen, laboratory and administration building as well as a two-storey warehouse and ancillary plant.

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In his objection, Mr Ryan  said his lands had been flooded due to the destruction of the Loughmore Turlough by discharges from the business park, while his livestock had also suffered “unexplained physical distortions”.

He said multiple planning applications had been permitted in relation to the business park without concerns about the flooding of lands being addressed.

He claimed there had been misconnections to the foul and stormwater network during various expansions of the IDA site.

Council planners said the proposed development was on a greenfield site, while Eli Lilly has indicated to the local authority that all surface water would be attenuated on site.

Council officials also noted there is no pathway for surface water or contaminants from the business park to the Loughmore area and expressed satisfaction that the new manufacturing plant would have no significant environmental impact.

A decision on the appeal is expected from An Bord Pleanála early next March.