– Glanbia must find alternative uses for extra milk produced rather than make cuts to farmers’ incomes –

“It appears to me that certain NGOs feel that they, rather than the Irish government, should set government agri-food policy,” said Fianna Fáil MEP, Billy Kelleher.

Kelleher was commenting as a proposed Glanbia cheese manufacturing plant in Bellview, Co. Kilkenny has been delayed by planning, and now legal, challenges by An Taisce.

“An Taisce have opposed the development on the basis that any increase in dairy production, which would be needed for the cheese plant to operate, would be ‘untenable’.

“The Department of Agriculture, and the Irish Government, have decided that they want to increase dairy production in Ireland. An Taisce do not get to decide what government policy is; the Irish Government do. It is planned, and supported by the Government, to increase dairy production to 9.49 billion litres by 2027.

“This milk has to go somewhere. The proposed Glanbia cheese facility where they plan to make Gouda for the European market is an ideal destination for this additional milk supply.

“An Taisce’s planning and legal challenges are damaging to job creation in terms of construction and damaging to Irish dairy farmers who will feel the pinch in 2022 when Glanbia apply caps on production due to the failure of the new plant to open on time.

“Many dairy farmers have taken out loans to finance increased dairy production on their farms to supply milk to this new facility.

“We need a quick decision on their spurious challenges so that we can move on with developing the production facility and ensuring that dairy farmers do not lose out.

“Furthermore, I would call on Glanbia to work with dairy farmers to find alternatives to cuts in production levels. With all the additional ferry capacity, perhaps milk can be shipped to plants overseas rather than seeing farmers lose out?” concluded Kelleher.