Semi State COILLTE of
GOLIATH v DAVID–style BULLYING TACTICS
Local community group, WIND AWARE DROMAHAIR, claims that Coillte representatives assured them in 2018 that their proposed Croagh Windfarm, of GIANT wind turbines, would be fully compliant with the new, albeit still draft, Planning Guidelines.
It now transpires that their application to Leitrim and Sligo County Councils is based on the 2006 Guidelines, described some years ago by former Environment Minister Denis Naughten as “manifestly unfit for purpose”.
Undisturbed and undrained bog is universally recognised as a vitally important carbon storage reservoir and now Coillte are proposing to rip up this precious carbon store.
Wind Aware Dromahair’s spokesperson Adrienne Diamond stated that these turbines if built will be nearly twice the height of any existing turbine in the Sligo/Leitrim area. They will totally dominate and alter the local landscape and that of the surrounding area to the extent of being clearly visible right across six counties.
Wind Aware Dromahair has gathered widespread support from the potentially impacted villages and towns, including Dromahair, Manorhamilton, Sligo etc. and the vibrant eco-tourism sector in the area, for their opposition to this grossly inappropriate industrial development. Over 100 people from the threatened areas attended a public information meeting in Sept 2019, and unanimously supported the decision to oppose the development. Local TDs Martin Kenny SF, MEP Matt Carthy SF and Councilors Mary Bohan FF, Sean McDermott FG, Des Guckian Ind, Felim Gurn Ind, among others, also supported the decision to oppose the development.
The community group is adamant that if Coillte’s proposal was for an environmentally appropriate, community-based, sustainable project which aligns with the aims and objectives of North Leitrim Sustainable Energy Community and creates long term employment in this area, it would be wholeheartedly welcomed and supported.
The group further asserts that the proposals presented to LEITRIM and SLIGO local authorities is the polar opposite of this, being nothing more than a naked, high-finance driven, exploitation of the precious rural landscape and peaceful environment that brings so many visitors to LOVELY LEITRIM and SLIGO.
In support of this assertion they recall a quote from Fergal Leamy, former Coillte CEO,
“We always saw ourselves as a developer of these assets [windfarms] and then we’d sell them on.”
Wind Aware Dromahair see Coillte’s proposal as a further part of the attempted forced industrialisation of rural Ireland.
Adrienne said. “The threatened area is home to several endangered avian and mammalian species including the Annex 1 listed Hen Harrier and Corncrake as well as Bats including the Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Leisler’s, Daubenton’s and Brown long‐eared bats.”
Adrienne continued, “How can the destruction of native bog and its replacement by thousands of tons of concrete and steel be regarded as being environmentally friendly? Undisturbed and undrained bog is now universally recognised as a vitally important carbon storage reservoir. Furthermore, this landscape, like Shaas Mountain where a massive mudslide occurred as recently as in June this year, is highly vulnerable to landslides. causing huge environmental degradation, pollution and extermination of aquatic life in the many surrounding rivers and streams.”
As custodians of 7% of Ireland’s land and a state company which claims to be “deeply committed to supporting, and developing relationships with, the communities living near our projects and developments” it is incumbent on Coillte to take into account the fears and worries of the people of the areas well as the greater environmental concerns.
She concluded her remarks as follows:
“The size of wind turbines has changed but the 2006 Planning Guidelines have remained the same. In 2006 the average turbine height was 50 to 65 metres, Coillte’s proposed development at 170 metres, is approximately three times this height and the same guidelines apply. In 2006 the smaller turbines were 10 times tip height from the nearest home, now the proposed turbines would only be 4.5 times tip height from the nearest home. This cannot be right.
“We want a Green future for Leitrim and Sligo by continuing to cut carbon emissions and by leading the way with imaginative, sustainable, small scale renewable projects that are suited to our sensitive beautiful landscape and truly create local employment.
“Our small rural community is taking on a giant. We are challenging Coillte, the supposed leaders of the wind energy industry in Ireland. We are fighting to save our Health, our Homes, our Way of Life and what remains of our Irreplaceable Beautiful Landscape. This is a LOCAL ISSUE, a NATIONAL ISSUE and above all it is an ETHICAL ISSUE.”
Wind Aware Dromahair are urging citizens right across the land, as well as rural community groups to join their campaign and submit their strong objection to Coillte’s planning application prior to the deadline of 1st September 2020.
They ask supporters to contact committee members listed below for template objections letters and further guidance on making their submission.
For further information please contact 0851 821 547 (WAD).
—Adrienne Diamond on behalf of Wind Aware Dromahair. 14th August 2020.
Facebook: Leitrim Wind Industry Awareness