‘Our next step is the High Court’
• Local outrage as An Bord Pleanála passes windfarm in Gneeveguilla • Crowd turns on Healy Raes as Danny addresses public meeting
THE local community in Gneeveguilla has launched a fight against a planned windfarm in the area which it fears will decimate the rural region.
Local residents have also strongly criticised Deputy Danny Healy Rae who attended a public meeting to offer his support to the local community in its fight against the proposed development which was given the green light last week by An Bord Pleanála.
In a heated debate, Deputy Healy Rae was accused of “talking out both sides of his mouth” when it emerged that the Kilgarvan TD’s company is working on a windfarm in Kilgarvan.
He told residents that he was there to support them but, when questioned if he was subcontracted to work on any windfarm in the county, he said that he had formerly worked on one and was working on another in Kilgarvan “that was bothering no-one”.
“You are talking out both sides of your mouth,” said chairman, Frank O’Sullivan.
Cllr Maura Healy Rae later took the microphone and said that the way her father was treated at the meeting was “unfair” as they attended with the “best intentions in the world”. Some who attended the meeting then walked out and chairman Frank O’Sullivan claimed that Cllr Maura Healy Rae had “rudely interrupted the meeting”.
A decision was taken by local residents to take a judicial review in the High Court.
THE community of Gneeveguilla 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.
Mike Fleming, Donal Vaughan, Sean O’Rourke and Fred O’Sullivan at Monday’s meeting in Gneeveguilla.
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.