Proposed scheme envisages eight 125m turbines which would require the removal of 172 hectares of forest
A group of east Clare-based artists, including film-maker and Aosdána member Joe Comerford, have added their opposition to plans to build a €10 million wind farm 7km from the east Clare villages of Tulla and Feakle.
Last year, Ventus Energy lodged a planning application to develop eight 125m (410ft) high turbines which would supply electricity to 22,000 homes. As part of the plan, the developers would remove 172 hectares (425 acres) of forest.
In response to the plan, local residents have lodged objections while the Department of the Environment has also raised concerns.
The council put the application on hold requesting further information. Ventus Energy has now lodged the additional information with the council. This has provoked renewed opposition from people in the local area.
The objection from the east Clare-based artists states: “The local landscape and environment is the central theme of the work of many artists. Much of the Irish identity is inextricably linked to our landscape…the proposed 400ft turbines will significantly degrade the landscape heritage of east Clare.
“Clare county planners have worked for many years to protect the landscape heritage of east Clare with good reason. We hope that this precious resource will not be discarded so easily.”
In a separate objection Máirín Kelly said: “The cumulative effect of the turbines in combination with the existing communications mast on Maghera would be to alter the landscape character from remote upland to semi-industrial”.
She also points out that the nearby Lough Graney “is the setting for one of the most celebrated poems in all of Irish literature, The Midnight Court“, written in 1780.
“It is to be hoped that future visitors to the area will not be left to wonder how Merriman’s view ‘to the edge of the sky’ came to be degraded by a group of giant turbines,” she added.
Loughgraney Community Council, elected by the people of Killanena-Flagmount, has also voiced its opposigion to the wind farm proposal. “We find the scale and obtrusive nature of these turbines to be detrimental and obtrusive…their construction would open the door to even further such development in the future.”
Killanena-based auctioneer Martin Canny said: “I feel this proposal would have a direct devaluation on property and land within the vicinity of this site.
“Small businesses are finding it difficult enough…without an incursion of thie magnitude on to one of our great assets which is our beautiful natural landscape.”
A decision is due later this year.
By Gordon Deegan
9 January 2008