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Ahenny residents demand guarantee from minister

Residents who oppose the installation of a wind farm in Ahenny, Carrick-on-Suir, have called on the minister for the environment to protect their area against what they call “the blatant vandalism of one of the country’s most ancient landscapes.”

The call comes less than a fortnight before councilliors are due to vote on the issue.

The Ahenny Action Group insists that it should not be left up to local people to protect designated heritage regions from industrial development.

They have written to Minister Dick Roche to demand a guarantee that no wind farm be erected in the area.

More than 380 people presented submissions to South Tipperary County Council from Ahenny and the surrounding townlands stating their opposition to the construction of the 400-foot turbines proposed for the area.

On December 18, councillors will vote in a zoning process to designate areas of South Tipperary suitable and unsuitable for wind plants.

The Ahenny Action Group hopes their area, known as the Lingaun Valley, will be made no-go for turbines. They have threatened legal action against the local authority if the area is left open.

“The people of Ahenny have dedicated almost one year of their lives to this preposterous proposal which would destroy our lovely village and its ancient heritage,” said Mairead Sheehan of the Ahenny Action Group. “They have spoken very clearly and have said they do not want their beautiful historic countryside ripped up for these giant inefficient machines.”

“We intend to make our case very clear to the man with overall responsibility for the Irish environment, Minister Roche, and are calling to meet him urgently.”

Residents in Ahenny say they are perplexed that the fields around their medieval village in the shadow of Slievenamon, have been selected as a location for an industrial wind plant since it is one of six designated conservation areas in South Tipperary and is within a protected view.

“It is outrageous that we have had to put so much time and effort into protecting an area that is supposedly already protected by the planning laws of the state,” said Ms Sheehan.

If the planning department of South Tipperary County Council and the elected representatives give the green light to wind farms in the area, the group intends to take the case to the High Court in Dublin, she said.

“We are not going to allow our precious home be torn apart for the sake of a so-called green energy that is slowly reaching its sell-by date in the rest of the world,” she said.