Callaghan has four appeals before An Bord Pleanala relating to Meath projects

The Kells man at the centre of last week's 'RTE Investigates' programme into planning appeals currently has four appeals in relation to developments in Meath before An Bord Pleanala.

The RTE Investigates programme 'The Planning Trap,' revealed how so-called go-away payments were received by serial objector John Callaghan to withdraw planning appeals.

A search of the Bord Pleanala website from 2018 to date shows that Callaghan, a civil engineer from Oldcastle Road, Kells, is or has been a party to more than 15 cases, either lodged in his own name, or on behalf of Sustainability 2050 described by RTE Investigates as a self-styled environmental NGO.

While some of these cases have either been ruled on by An Bord Pleanala or withdrawn and are therefore finalised, 11 cases are still actively in the Bord Pleanala system, four of which are in Meath.

They include two third party appeals by Sustainability 2050 against the granting of planning permission to Boliden Tara Mines DAC for separate developments. In both cases they were the only appeals made and they are still being considered by An Bord Pleanala.

One appeal lodged in November 2022 is in relation to the construction of a rockfill and earthen reinforcement buttress to sections of the embankment wall of the Tailings Storage Facility at Randalstown, Simonstown and Sillogue, Navan.

An appeal was also lodged in June of this year against the granting of permission for the construction of a water treatment plant within the mine site complex at Knockumber, Navan.

Meanwhile, the most recent Meath appeal submitted to Bord Pleanala by Sustainability 2050 was lodged just last month. The appeal is against the granting of permission to Azra Property Holdings for a largescale residential development of 716 houses at Castlefarm and Ruskin, Clonee, Dunboyne.

Sustainability 2050 also submitted an appeal against Meath Co Council's granting of permission in 2021 for an extension to Dawn Meat's wastewater treatment plant, one of several appeals from various groups that were lodged with Bord Pleanala against the proposal which include a 7.2km industrial pipeline to discharge waste water into the Boyne. This case is still with Bord Pleanala and has not yet been decided upon.

Nationally, Sustainability 2050 has appealed several high profile developments including one currently with the Board in relation to Diageo's plans for a brewery development in Newbridge, Co Kildare.

The self-styled environmental NGO also appealed the decision by Longford Co Council to grant permission to Center Parcs for a 198-lodge extension. An Bord Pleanala went on to grant permission with revised conditions.

An Bord Pleanala's online planning system shows that two appeals lodged by John Callaghan/Sustainability 2050 against developments in Meath were later withdrawn.

Meanwhile, RTE reports that an An Bord Pleanala met last week to discuss the matters raised in the RTE Investigates programme and is to review cases involving John Callaghan and/or Sustainability 2050.

However, the Board did not confirm this when asked and in statement said it "cannot comment on the specific allegations raised as they relate to specific matters before the Board".

A general statement was issued however, which outlined that 38 appeals have been dismissed over the past five years though none were under the provision which relates to making appeals with the intention of delaying a development with the intention of securing payment or gift or other inducement.

John Callaghan ran as a Fine Gael candidate for Kells Town Council in the local elections in 2009. He polled just 51 first preference votes and was eliminated on the fifth count.

In his biography in advance of the elections carried along with the other 15 candidates, he outlined that he had moved to Kells in 2005, was a mechanical and civil engineer and that "restoring faith in the planning process, unfinished estates, extensive dereliction, employment opportunities lack of leisure/amenity facilities in the town" were his key priorities.

He was one of four Fine Gael candidates that ran in the Kells Town Council elections that year with Fine Gael candidates Sarah Reilly and Oliver Sweeney among the nine councillors elected.

In a statement issued to RTE on foot of the Prime Time programme, John Callaghan said: "Please be aware that neither of the parties referred to in your letters has done anything unlawful.