WORRIED residents are to plead with the government to intervene in the row over the development of a ¤500 million liquefied natural gas terminal on a landbank between Tarbert and Ballylongford.
An Bord Pleanala has given a green light for the contentious project to proceed but a last ditch appeal is to be lodged with the cabinet in an attempt to call the venture to a halt.
The Kilcolgan Residents' Association, who had lodged a formal objection to the plan, have complained that their concerns were not mentioned in An Bord Pleanala's written decision and are now planning to go directly to the cabinet table.
The residents are planning to approach Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Eamon Ryan, to ask him to intervene in the matter before a foreshore licence is granted.
But the go-ahead for the massive terminal has been warmly welcomed by the Ballyheigue-based chairman of Shannon Development Cllr John Brassil who said he was happy that Bord Pleanála has given permission to LNG to proceed with the commencement of works on the Shannon Development owned land between Tarbert and Ballylongford
"The announcement is a major milestone in the development of a strategic project aimed at addressing Ireland's future energy needs and will, I am convinced, make an important contribution to our international competitiveness in the future," Cllr Brassil said.
And he stressed that the provision of property-based solutions for Irish and foreign industry projects had always been a primary activity of Shannon Development.
"We brought the potential of our Ballylongford landbank to key international industry sectors and are pleased that a leading global energy player of the calibre of Shannon LNG has been granted planning permission for this project," said Cllr Brassil.
"This project is an ideal fit for our site which we had designated for maritime-related industry and this is why we granted an option-to-purchase to Shannon LNG," he added.
The planning permission was granted in relation to 281 acres of the Shannon Development 600-acre land bank in the area.
The project was officially launched by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin in May 2006 and the decision to grant planning follows a protracted oral hearing by An Bord Pleanála, held in Tralee in January, to discuss on all sides of the debate.
It is expected that construction of the terminal could commence in 2009 and could be in operation by 2012. According to project backers, it will provide in the region of 50 long-term jobs and 350 positions during the three-year construction phase.