IRELAND's richest businessman, Sean Quinn has been given permission to 'fast track' a planning application to construct one of the biggest power stations ever built here.
An Bord Pleanala has ruled that a 450-megawatt gas-fired station planned in Co Louth is strategic infrastructure and should not have to go through the usual planning process.
If approved it could provide enough power for almost 300,000 homes. Industry sources described the proposed power station as "huge".
The Strategic Infrastructure Bill, which came into force earlier this year, allows planning applications of national or regional importance to be lodged directly with An Bord Pleanala instead of the local authority.
The planning applications can be fast-tracked and dealt with in six months, so instead of Sean Quinn having to apply for planning permission from Louth Co Council, the board will instead decide if the massive project should be approved.
The plant at Toomes in Co Louth is one of two planned by the Fermanagh businessman, who also proposes a second station near Tynagh in Co Galway.
Yesterday it emerged that the proposed gas-fired station for Toomes will be one of the biggest power stations ever built in Ireland.