Out­rage at wind­farm de­ci­sion

Pub­lic meet­ing held af­ter an Bord Pleanála over­turns coun­cil re­fusal

The Corkman - - FRONT PAGE -

RES­I­DENTS in Bal­ly­desmond/ Gneeveg­uilla have launched a fight against a planned wind­farm in the area which it fears will dec­i­mate the ru­ral re­gion.

This fol­lows a de­ci­sion by An Bord Pleanála to grant plan­ning for 12 tur­bines which will be higher than the Spire in Dublin when com­pleted.

The chair­man of Sli­abh Luachra Wind Aware­ness Group, Fred O’Sul­li­van, said “the se­ri­ous­ness of this is be­yond words ... Th­ese will be the tallest man-made struc­tures in the coun­try”.

A de­ci­sion was taken by res­i­dents to take a ju­di­cial re­view in the High Court, at an ex­pected cost of €120,000.

Res­i­dents have also strongly crit­i­cised Deputy Danny Healy Rae who at­tended a pub­lic meet­ing on Mon­day to of­fer his sup­port to the lo­cals. In a heated de­bate, Deputy Healy Rae was ac­cused of “talk­ing out both sides of his mouth” when it emerged that the TD’s com­pany is work­ing on a wind­farm in Kil­gar­van.

THE com­mu­nity of Gneeveg­uilla and Bal­ly­desmond is “un­der siege” fol­low­ing a de­ci­sion by An Bord Pleanála to grant plan­ning for 12 tur­bines, which will be higher than the Spire in Dublin and Kil­lar­ney Cathe­dral when com­pleted.

The de­ci­sion last week by the na­tional plan­ning authority has shocked and an­gered the lo­cal com­mu­nity, and al­most 150 lo­cal res­i­dents at­tended a pub­lic meet­ing at the com­mu­nity hall on Mon­day night, where they de­cided to take their bat­tle against the planned wind­farm to the High Court for a ju­di­cial re­view.

This le­gal bat­tle will cost the lo­cal com­mu­nity €120,000 and they will have to fund-raise this money as soon as pos­si­ble to pay for a le­gal team to fight on their be­half.

Chair­man of Sli­abh Luachra Wind Aware­ness Group, Fred O’Sul­li­van who chaired the meet­ing, said “the se­ri­ous­ness of this is be­yond words.” “We are un­der siege,” he said. “Th­ese will be the tallest man­made struc­tures in the coun­try,” con­tin­ued Mr O’Sul­li­van. “Go­ing to the High Court is like back­ing a horse we could win or lose,” said Mr O’Sul­li­van but he said the com­mu­nity must “fight” to block the de­vel­op­ment. Plan­ning had been re­fused by Kerry County Coun­cil for the 14 tur­bines over seven town­lands be­tween Gneeveg­uilla and Bal­ly­desmond. How­ever, last week An Bord Pleanála granted per­mis­sion in a move that has an­gered the lo­cal com­mu­nity - many of whom are com­pletely against the wind­farm which will be close to a num­ber of lo­cal homes. Con­cerns were raised at the meet­ing about the shadow flicker from the tur­bines and the meet­ing heard from res­i­dents liv­ing close to Gneeveg­uilla who claim that their lives have been de­stroyed by other such de­vel­op­ments. Con­cerns were also raised about fam­i­lies liv­ing in the area whose chil­dren have autism or epilepsy. It was claimed that they will have to move be­cause of the ef­fects of the wind­farm. Con­cerns about the noise were also raised.

Deputy Danny Healy Rae came un­der fire at the meet­ing when he was quizzed about his sub­con­tract­ing con­tracts on other wind­farms in the county. He said that he was work­ing on one in Kil­gar­van and that he had pre­vi­ously worked on an­other one.

“You are talk­ing out both sides of your mouth,” said Mr O’Sul­li­van.

Sli­abh Luachra Aware­ness Group’s Donal Line­han, Mike Flem­ing, Donal Vaughan, Fred O’Sul­li­van and Sean O’Rourke at Mon­day night’s meet­ing in Gneeveg­uilla. Photo Sinead Kelle­her

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