Bat fans kick up a stink over cheese factory
ONE of Europe’s largest cheese factories is set to bring nearly 80 permanent jobs to the midlands – but some locals could not give Edam.
The proposed €130m mozarella factory at Togher, just outside Portlaoise, has seen objections from locals over fears the cheesy pong might affect the local bats.
And while the factory won’t be producing Gorgonzola or Camembert – or any other famously pungent cheeses – the 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week nature of the factory is not Gouda, according to objectors.
The Glanbia factory would create 78 jobs – and a further 250 during the construction phase.
But Togher resident Claire O’Donoghue, wrote a four-page objection to the plans. Among her concerns was the smell, given that the factory would produce 54,000 tonnes of cheese each year. ‘I cannot envisage a facility making cheese to be totally odourless,’ she wrote. She added that the factory could devalue neighbouring properties, lead to a loss of privacy, endanger wildlife and eradicate the peace and tranquility of the area.
Her cottage, which dates back to the 1800s, has its own private well, and is situated in ‘one of the last remaining unspoiled areas in Portlaoise’.
‘Should this proposal go ahead, this last remaining area of countryside will be spoiled. We will be surrounded by ugly industrial buildings.’
The plans – approved by Laois County Council, subject to 16 conditions – have been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
Mr D Phelan, of Abbeyleix Road, Portlaoise, who appealed the decision on 10 grounds, also cited potential odours – as well as threats to the local bat population.
He said five bat species – which are protected by law – have been recorded within a 2km radius.
The plans, by Glanbia and its US partner Leprino, have been welcomed by others, including Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.
Might cheese off bats Whiff: