An Taisce appealed one condition of the application by Regeneron to redevelop the former Dell plant. This led to local upset on a misunderstanding that An Taisce had appealed the substantial planning permission.

It is best explained by James Nix's letter, printed in the Irish Independent.

Dear Sir,

Writing yesterday in this newspaper yesterday (27 March), Paul McNeive criticised An Taisce for seeking greater levels of public transport, cycling and walking in commuting to work at the former Dell plant in Limerick. The plant is due to be refurbished and enhanced by Regeneron, a US bio-pharmaceutical company.

After Regeneron applied for planning permission, An Taisce wrote to Limerick County Council asking the Council to request Regeneron to develop a mobility plan to guide the company, over time, to achieve higher levels of public transport, walking and cycling for travel to work. The benefits of having such a plan include: reduced congestion, better air quality, improved employee health - and, as more recent studies have shown, improved employee well-being and retention.

However, Limerick County Council granted planning permission without requesting any definite plan to boost public transport, cycling and walking. To say this jars with Limerick as Ireland's Smarter Travel demonstration city is an understatement. Limerick has been granted €9.3m of public funds to increase public transport, cycling and walking.

An Taisce then appealed the transport condition of the permission to An Bord Pleanála. Only the transport condition was appealed, something very clear from the document itself. Regrettably, a local election candidate issued a press release that neglected to make this clear, and a small number of news outlets covered the release without checking the story – or without making any contact with An Taisce for balance and fairness.

In your paper yesterday, Paul McNeive was unfortunately wrong-footed by the misreporting described above. Also, the story has moved on.

An Taisce and Regeneron have since worked together on a revised mobility plan and the appeal on the transport condition is no longer before An Bord Pleanala. Regeneron and An Taisce followed up with a joint press release, key quotes from which include:

“An Taisce is very pleased to support the Regeneron investment plan and happy that our concerns on reducing car dependency, where possible in line with national policy, have been addressed,” said Mr. Nix. Describing Regeneron’s new mobility management plan as ‘a leading template’, Mr Nix continued, “An Taisce said that the interests of good environmental management and best corporate practice are moving ever closer together. An Taisce is delighted to see Regeneron begin the refurbishment of the former Dell manufacturing building in Limerick in order to bring it back to life as a world class biopharmaceuticals manufacturing facility”.

“I am delighted with the available talent in Limerick, the progress made thus far on the preliminary portion of the proposed development, and the great national and regional response we have had to our investment plan for the Limerick facility,” said Mr. Van Plew. “An Taisce plays an important role encouraging folks to think about their long term impact on the environment, and we are very happy to have engaged with An Taisce on issues relating to mobility planning and on other aspects of the proposed development. Regeneron and An Taisce have much in common in terms of encouraging sustainable best practice”.


James Nix, Policy Director, An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland