Bord approves new Donegal distillery

An Bord Pleanala has upheld a decision to grant planning permission for a new whiskey distillery in the Carrick area in south west Donegal.

The project will involve the construction of a distillery, lab, visitor centre, museum and car-parking area.

The Sliabh Liag Distillery applied for planning last April, it was granted by the Council in July subject to 22 conditions and appealed by three parties to An Bord Pleanala.

Three parties appealed a decision by Donegal County Council last summer to grant planning for this Distillery development at Lower Carrick about a kilometre outside the village of Carrick itself on the R263.

The appeals were made by An Taisce and two residents living nearby.

One major point in An Taisce’s objection was a claim that it contravenes Donegal’s county development plan in terms of its location outside a main rural ‘settlement area’ like Carrick.

Other concerns by local residents include ‘first hand knowledge’ of the constraints of the water supply in the area as well as concerns about traffic and environmental concerns.

One resident noted that a condition applied to the permission would see ‘complete destruction of a century old hedge row’.

The inspector from An Bord Pleanala tasked with assessing the appeal recommended the application be refused by the Bord.

However, in the end the Bord did not go along with that recommendation and upheld the Council’s decision to grant planning subject to conditons.

It felt the three points which formed the basis of the decision to refuse the plans would be adequately addressed by the county council and its conditions.

It noted that the project would be of good enough economic benefit to the local area to justify its location outside Carrick and that strict conditions were in place for the developers to consult with the Council on effective traffic management and wastewater infrastructure.

The project is expected to generate 40 jobs for the local area and the developers state in their files they’re satisfied the development is tucked under the R263 minimising any negative visual impact to this scenic area.

They also state that their waste water plans are far enough away from the local Owenree river and they have committed not to extract any water from that river in an effort to protect both public health, local water supplied and minimise any risk to the local environment.

The distillery will be the first to operate in the county since the closure of the Burt distillery in 1841.

The project will be part funded by Failte Ireland with the balance of funding from the company themselves.

James Doherty the managing director of the project, whose mother comes from Kilcar and who now lives back in the same area says it’s a great boost for the local area.

He hopes they will create 40 jobs over the next couple of years.

But he warns whiskey lovers that due to the timeframe it takes for good whiskey to mature, the first drop will probably not be available until 2022!