Save Tullig from West Cork Distillers

Cork Planning Authority contradicts Chief Executive in bizarre planning u-turn

By Calvin Jones on February 1, 2023

Planners in County Cork appear to have contradicted the publicly stated position of the County Council’s Chief Executive, Tim Lucey, in a planning decision issued on 16 January 2023.

The Planning Authority’s decision to grant conditional planning for an industrial whiskey maturation warehousing development on an agricultural site in the rural townland of Tullig, near Reenascreena in West Cork, contrasts markedly with Mr Lucey’s publicly stated opinion on zoning land in the immediate area for a very similar, though much smaller, development.

In the “Cork County Development Plan Review, Section 12(4) Chief Executive’s Report, Volume One Part Two (d): Volume 5 West Cork” issued on 21 September 2021, Mr Lucey responds to submission DCDP344728832 by John O’Regan as follows:

Principal Issues Raised

Is it appropriate to zone the subject lands which are located in a rural area of Reenascreena for Commercial Warehousing/Storage Units use?

Chief Executive’s Response

There are sufficient lands zoned within the settlement boundaries of the area to meet the business/industrial and general employment requirements for the Municipal District. It is not considered appropriate to zone land for such developments in unserviced rural areas.

Chief Executive's Recommendation

No amendment required.

“We’re a bit baffled by Cork County Council’s decision to grant planning permission for West Cork Distillers’ industrial warehousing complex in Tullig, given that the County Council’s Chief Executive, Tim Lucey, clearly believes such developments to be inappropriate in the same location,” said Calvin Jones, a resident of the area, and a spokesperson for Tullig and Reenascreena Community group, who have been fighting the proposed industrial development since July 2021.

“This is just one of the many discrepancies and concerns we raised in our detailed submissions on both the planning application, and on the further information West Cork Distillers submitted in November 2022.”

Save Tullig from West Cork Distillers
Site of the proposed inappropriate Industrial Warehousing complex at Tullig

Mr Jones said the Group is determined to fight this bizarre planning decision, and has engaged the services of a planning consultant to assist in their appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

“We’re fighting to preserve our small rural community, the landscape and the way of life that make West Cork such a special place,” said Jones. “For all their bluster, and willingness to capitalise on West Cork’s culture and image in their branding and marketing narrative, West Cork Distillers, it seems, are still determined to undermine the qualities that make West Cork what it is, one giant warehouse at a time.”

While the group’s fight is a local one, Jones warns that this is an issue that can affect the integrity of rural communities all over Ireland.

“Our main focus is stopping the inappropriate development on our doorstep,” he said, “but this is a much bigger issue. Irish Whiskey is experiencing explosive growth and unprecedented investment. Distilleries need maturation storage to produce their product, but those warehouses need to be in appropriate locations.”

Annie O’Keefe, Executive Planner with Cork County Council, summarises the issue in her Planner’s Report on the West Cork Distillers application:

“Unfortunately, this growth and investment is taking place without an identified land use strategy as to the most appropriate location for such maturation warehousing. Hence, ad hoc applications for such warehousing in rural areas are being assessed nationwide in a policy vacuum. Given the recent and projected growth of the whiskey export business and the associated need for maturation facilities, a viable strategy is clearly required.”

“Today, we’re fighting to save Tullig, tomorrow, you could be fighting to preserve the integrity of your rural community,” said Jones. “The more of these ad-hoc developments that get the green light, the harder it gets for ordinary people to oppose them. It’s time to stem the tide of industrial development that’s undermining the fabric of rural Ireland, and implement a cohesive policy for whiskey maturation storage in, before it’s too late.”

You can find out more about the Tullig and Reenascreena community’s battle to preserve their rural identity at


Get in touch for more info/comment

Article written by Calvin Jones
Calvin Jones is an author, freelance writer and naturalist who lives just down the road from the proposed development, in the adjacent townland of Clounkeen East. He is the founder of Ireland's Wildlife.

Thanks for a great article Calvin!

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Related Posts


    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This