‘We don’t want these tur­bines – end of story’

Bray People - - NEWS - By DEB­O­RAH COLE­MAN

CLOSE to 300 con­cerned resi- dents gath­ered in the func­tion room at Law­less’s Ho­tel on Thurs­day last, united in their goal to put a stop to wind farm plans in their ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

Hosted by South Wick­low Wind Ac­tion Group (SWWAG), the meet­ing was con­vened in protest against the cur­rent ABO Wind Ire­land Ltd ap­pli­ca­tion seek­ing per­mis­sion to erect Bal­ly­manus Wind Farm. The ap­pli­ca­tion is seek­ing per­mis­sion to build up to eleven tur­bines at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions across south Wick­low, with each tur­bine 150 me­tres in height.

A pre­vi­ous ap­pli­ca­tion was over­whelm­ingly re­jected by the com­mu­nity over two years ago with over 400 sub­mis­sions lodged with Wick­low County Coun­cil.

‘What we have is what we hold,’ SWWAG PRO Richard More O’Fer­rall warned those pre­sent.

Re­fer­ring to the com­pany’s pre­vi­ously de­nied ap­pli­ca­tion, Mr More O’Fer­rall said: ‘ this time it is dif­fer­ent’.

‘ This time they have been work­ing very hard to over­come the is­sues raised two years ago. The com­mu­nity told them to go away but they have come back,’ he said.

SWWAG mem­ber Jack Lynch said that the group ‘is on the same mis­sion as they were two years ago’ and are even more de­ter­mined. He de­scribed the com­pany’s ref­er­ence to com­mu­nity en­gage­ment as ‘ bo­gus claims’ and said that it was ‘a scoping ex­er­cise to tick a box’.

He said that the peo­ple of Aughrim, An­nacurra, Pre­ban, Ti­na­hely and many town­lands in be­tween face the same fears and feel ex­actly the same way about hav­ing 150 me­tre tur­bines erected near their homes.

‘ The 600 me­tre set-back dis­tance is still far too close where the health of res­i­dents is con­cerned. They would still be heard and suf­fered. They have no idea how health will suf­fer if peo­ple were sur­rounded by these 24 hours a day.’

Mr Lynch also raised the is­sue of risk to the wa­ter sup­ply and said that the amount re­quired to de­velop 11 tur­bines would cer­tainly have an im­pact on the wa­ter sup­ply of res­i­dents.

‘We don’t trust ABO to man­age this risk. Peo­ple have in­vested heav­ily in their homes. Some have just barely squeezed out of neg­a­tive equity and if these tur­bines go up, no­body will be able to sell or buy a house in the area. It will stag­nate. We live in the Gar­den of Ire­land and we are very proud of that. We be­lieve we have the real gem in the Gar­den here and we must pro­tect it,’ he said.

SWWAG chair­man John O’Driscoll, who founded the group four years ago, ap­peared to ver­balise the feel­ings of many (such was the round of ap­plause he re­ceived) when he said: ‘We don’t want them [the tur­bines] any­where and it’s a load of crap about tur­bine height. We don’t want them – end of story. This is the Gar­den of Ire­land. Have they no cop on?’

Richard More O’Fer­rall and John O’Driscoll from South Wick­low Wind Ac­tion Group at the meet­ing. BE­LOW: Jack Lynch.

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