Politi­cians vow to sup­port cam­paign­ers

Wicklow People - - NEWS -

A CLAIM that ‘lives have been de­stroyed be­cause of gov­ern­ment in­cac­tion’ was made by Fianna Fáíl Euro­pean Elec­tion can­di­date Kieran Hart­ley at the anti-wind­farm public meet­ing in Aughrim.

Mr Hart­ley said that ‘ab­so­lutely noth­ing has changed’ in the past two years since the pre­vi­ous Bal­ly­manus Wind Farm ap­pli­ca­tion and he called on lo­cal coun­cil­lors to pro­pose a mo­tion to amend the County De­vel­op­ment Plan.

Cllr Sylvester Bourke took is­sue with this and what he felt was an im­pli­ca­tion that the mem­bers of Wick­low County Coun­cil are in­com­pe­tent. He re­minded Mr Hart­ley that Cllr Shay Cullen pre­vi­ously pro­posed an amend­ment to ex­tend the set-back dis­tance which was later over-ruled by the then Min­is­ter for En­vi­ron­ment Si­mon Coveney.

‘The coun­cil­lors are very much on the ball and are sup­port­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity,’ he said.

Cllr Shay Cullen re­minded those pre­sent of the value of ‘peo­ple power’ and said that it is es­sen­tial in this bat­tle.

Cllr Pat Kennedy called on his fel­low coun­cil­lors to agree to a meet­ing to come up with a new vari­a­tion and said that le­gal prece­dent has been set fol­low­ing a High Court appeal by Done­gal County Coun­cil.

‘The High Court has over­ruled the Min­is­ter and Done­gal has set the prece­dent so there is ev­ery op­por­tu­nity for us to be able to over­come this ob­sta­cle. This wind­farm would be dead if we can get this over the line,’ he said.

He called for cross-party sup­port and all coun­cil­lors pre­sent, in­clud­ing Joe Be­han, Mary McDon­ald, Sylvester Bourke, Tommy An­nes­ley, Shay Cullen and Bren­dan Thorn­hill, pledged their sup­port.

Two TDs were also pre­sent at the meet­ing – Sinn Féin’s John Brady and Pat Casey of Fianna Fáil.

Deputy Brady crit­i­cised the ‘cor­po­rate greed’ shown by ABO Wind Ire­land Ltd in seek­ing to build this wind­farm in an area where res­i­dents have over­whelm­ingly re­jected it. He said that it is es­sen­tial that ev­ery res­i­dent makes an ob­jec­tion and said that peo­ple need to buy into the ac­tion plan put for­ward by SWWAG.

He ex­pressed con­cern than any amend­ments made to the County De­vel­op­ment Plan would ben­e­fit this par­tic­u­lar wind farm pro­posal but said that an ap­pli­ca­tion from the coun­cil­lors is war­ranted none­the­less.

Deputy Casey said that the case has been made at na­tional level to show that on-shore wind­farms are no longer vi­able in Ire­land.

‘The coun­cil­lors have a great prece­dent now fol­low­ing the Done­gal judge­ment and the court must fol­low the prece­dent set. As a per­son in­volved in tourism, I know how im­por­tant the Wick­low land­scape is. It is the county’s gem and it is what tourists come here for,’ he said.

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