Almost one hundred people crowded into a community centre in Co. Westmeath last week to voice their views on the placing of wind turbines in the south of the county. After listening to many speakers, including Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, the gathering in Mount Temple agreed to send a submission voicing their disagreement on turbines to the county council, for inclusion in the next County Development Plan.
The gathering of local community members will send a submission saying that industrial windfarms must never be allowed to (a) impact on the amenity of our area, (b) create the potential for sleep disturbance through noise and consequently health affects, (c) negatively impact on the values of properties in close proximity (less than 2km from windfarm), (d) negatively impact on our environment through the unnecessary killing of birds and bats, (e) negatively impact on our proposed Natural Heritage Area, Lakeland and River Valley landscape, (f) cast any shadow flicker whatsoever on a person’s home, (g) be placed in a protected view.
The residents’ submission also mentioned their concern about the economics of the proposed wind export projects and they said they want to see the CDP include a requirement for energy developers to put a comprehensive decommissioning bond as well as an environmental bond in place for each and every industrial turbine developed.
The meeting heard from Michael and Dorothy Keane, who said they left their home in north Roscommon because of health problems they encountered due to a nearby wind turbine. Gordon Hudson chaired the meeting, and John McNamara from People’s Voice facilitated the meeting at the community hall. Labour party councillors, Jim Henson and Ger Corcoran were also at the meeting.
“Turbines are coming to this area, and we are not being told the truth, and they do make noise,” said John McNamara, who went on to say he wasn’t against renewable energy, but is against these wind turbines.
Deputy Flanagan said the government has put massive debts onto everyone’s shoulders, and now are selling everything off to pay back that money.
“In Great Britain, the people have mobilised, and have prevented blight on their landscape, but our government will accept it here,” said the Roscommon Independent TD. “If it is to be done, you’d need certain requirements, and Deputy Penrose has a bill at first stage to have distances up to 1500 metres between houses, and the core part is decent guidelines.”
Ming said he contacted the bills office in Dail Eireann this week to establish when the bill would come before the house, on one of the Friday sittings. He said he couldn’t find out if it was going to come up soon, but to speed up the process, he is putting in a bill of his own, which is similar to the Penrose one. He said there will also be two other deputies putting up similar motions.
“Deputy Penrose’s bill is well put together, and he is a member of government, and I support it, and I think the Technical group and Sinn Fein would support it,” said Deputy Flanagan.