Fam­i­lies set­tle case against wind­farm

Irish Examiner - - News - Ann O’Lough­lin and Joe Leogue

A group of fam­i­lies in a North Cork vil­lage who sued a wind­farm op­er­a­tor claim­ing the huge tur­bines ad­versely af­fected their health have set­tled their High Court ac­tions.

The High Court was told the cases in­volv­ing seven fam­i­lies from the Ban­teer area had been set­tled and the cases could be struck out.

The ac­tions were re­garded as land­mark cases and the High Court had been due to as­sess dam­ages af­ter li­a­bil­ity was ad­mit­ted in the case sev­eral months ago.

The cases against En­er­con Wind­farm Ser­vices Ire­land Ltd and Car­rig­can­non Wind Farm Ltd were taken by the Shiv­nen fam­ily and oth­ers in­clud­ing cou­ples, fam­i­lies, and one sin­gle oc­cu­pant.

The Ban­teer fam­i­lies claimed they have been se­verely im­pacted, par­tic­u­larly through noise pol­lu­tion, since the tur­bines be­gan op­er­at­ing in Novem­ber 2011.

In court yes­ter­day, Roland Budd BL told Mr Jus­tice Tony O’Con­nor the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the set­tle­ment agree­ments had taken place and the seven ac­tions could be struck out.

No de­tails of the set­tle­ment were given in court. The case will be briefly men­tioned next month in re­la­tion to cer­tain costs.

The ac­tion was the first of its kind in the coun­try and re­garded as a land­mark case.

Paula Byrne, of anti-wind tur­bine lobby group Win­daware, wel­comed the out­come and said it was “sig­nif­i­cant” given the Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion this week to re­tain ex­ist­ing manda­tory min­i­mum set­back dis­tances.

She said that while she is not privy to the de­tails of the set­tle­ment, it was a “rea­son­able as­sump­tion” that the cost to En­er­con has run into the mil­lions.

“It is sig­nif­i­cant that this judge­ment came a day af­ter Si­mon Coveney ap­proved abysmal guide­lines on wind tur­bines,” she said of the re­tained set­back dis­tance of 500m.

“One of the Ban­teer fam­i­lies lived 1km away from a tur­bine, at twice the rec­om­mended dis­tance. These guide­lines are a farce and we are bit­terly dis­ap­pointed with them,” she said.

En­er­con did not re­spond to a call from the Ir­ish Ex­am­iner at time of go­ing to press

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