Intel’s €3.5bn Leixlip extension one step closer to getting go-ahead

16 Apr 2019

Intel sign. Image: alexeynovikov/Depositphotos

In its bid to build a €3.5bn extension to its plant in Leixlip, Intel has just taken a major first legal step towards that goal.

Last January it emerged that Intel was looking to significantly boost its decades-old base in Leixlip, Co Kildare, with the construction of a new manufacturing facility, leading to the creation of hundreds of new technician roles. Now, some more concrete information has emerged on these plans with the Irish Examiner reporting that the chip giant is free to go ahead with its planning application.

Intel wants to move as fast as possible to start construction of the €3.5bn manufacturing fabrication facility, issuing responses to queries from Kildare County Council on the project in the space of a week. By contrast, this part of the process for such a large construction would usually take months.

The main concern raised by the council was regarding a potential 220kW substation connection to the new plant. However, Intel said that this substation won’t need to be in place prior to construction as the facility will initially be powered through the site’s existing infrastructure.

Even though Intel is now free to pursue getting planning permission for the facility, it will still be open to objections to An Bord Pleanála from third parties, meaning that getting any green light to build will likely be pushed out towards the end of this year.

Already, an objection against the facility has been submitted by local farmer Thomas Reid who has now submitted a total of seven objections to Intel’s expansion plans since 2012. Additionally, planning activist Peter Sweetman has also lodged an objection with An Bord Pleanála regarding the new expansion.

Responding to Reid’s latest objection, Intel said that it has provided all information to show “that the legitimate concerns of agencies and … neighbours have been anticipated and comprehensively addressed in the application”.

Intel’s planned expansion has been years in the making, revealing in 2016 that the first phase had got the planning permission it needed for a major fabrication facility at its existing Leixlip plant. Now, it hopes to see the same result with the planning permission for the second phase.

The total investment would see this latest facility valued at €7bn, representing the largest investment on a single, private project in Ireland’s history.

Intel sign. Image: alexeynovikov/Depositphotos

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic