A controversial wind turbine plan in the Sperrin Mountains has been given the green light, despite objectors claiming it is a site of ancient religious pilgrimage.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Planning Service has approved the single turbine which will be sited close to Lough Patrick, outside Draperstown in Co Londonderry.
A campaign to prevent the erection has been ongoing since 2007.
It has been claimed that the turbine plan which was put forward by a local cross-community partnership could bring in as much as £30,000 a year.
However, campaigners say the lough has been a place of Christian worship for more than 1,000 years and the turbine will destroy the site.
The application has sparked division in Magherafelt council, with Sinn Fein and the SDLP opposing the wind turbine.
SDLP councillor Kate Lagan said she was “deeply disappointed” and claimed the views of the objectors had not been addressed.
“First of all, the uniqueness of Lough Patrick has been ignored. Secondly, at another level, all decisions should be made taking into account local wishes and anxieties. These too were ignored,” said the councillor.
“Only in Northern Ireland would there be such complacent acceptance of at least the possible alteration for all time of a centuries-old historical site without public discussion.
“It argues an inadequate understanding of and failure to embrace the past of all of us and a blithe refusal to consider the result for posterity.
“The religious implications of the turbine do not seem important. Will posterity ask the question why did they have to put it just there?”
Ms Lagan said they had not given up hope.
“We have until December 11 to get a final submission, but we are going to give it our best shot.”
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