Irish Examiner

Families settle case against windfarm

- 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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