‘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 Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By SINEAD KELLE­HER

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.

Photo Sinead Kelle­her

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.

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