There were audible intakes of breath at a meeting of over 250 in the Bloomfield Hotel as photo montages were displayed showing how the landscape at Gaybrook will look if the proposed wind farm by Galetech receives the thumbs up from Westmeath County Council in September.
The meeting was held to discuss the 32 points of further information supplied by Galetech as requested by Westmeath County Council.
Chairman of the committee against the industrial wind farm, Tom Wallace, showed the photo montages which were supplied by Galetech as part of its further information and stated: “We have to stop this and we have to stop this now.”
“As I say again, we are not against green energy, we just want proper planning and proper regulation, we’re all for sustainable, renewable, properly planned energy,” said Mr. Wallace.
“The points of principle is that it is in the wrong area, the visual impact (of the turbines) – looking at the photo montages most people here realise it is going to affect them; the traffic hazards, the noise pollution, the impact on habitat, the shadow flicker,” he continued.
“It doesn’t match up with the Westmeath County Development Plan and doesn’t match up with the Midland Regional Authority, it is the wrong development for the area – plain and simple. We have to get that point across to Westmeath County Council. Do we want the Gaybrook area and Lough Ennell to be turned into another Cootehill?,” he asked.
“Nothing has really changed in this further information you know, nothing has really changed.”
Public representatives from all political parties were at the meeting and pledged their support, including Cllr. Johnny Penrose and Cllr. Colm Arthur, who said the residents had sent a very clear message to the Council that Gaybrook is not the right place for a wind farm.
Cllr. Ken Glynn said he believed the greater public, including residents in Mullingar, needed to take notice that the wind farm will affect them:
“This is going to affect everybody. Those pictures are quite striking and it’s something we don’t want,” said Cllr. Glynn.
“What really matters is that we stay united about it, I think everyone in this room is of the one voice, of the one mind and of the one heart about it. Isn’t there a case to made for all the public representatives to come together to make an appointment to meet the county manager on your behalf,” asked Mary O’Rourke TD, while Longford Westmeath TD James Bannon said that people power would carry the issue a long way and he agreed with Mary O’Rourke to seek the meeting with the County nager, saying “It will be a serious blight on the countryside as we’ve seen here tonight.”
Cllr. Peter Burke said the essential document to follow is the County Development Plan:
“That Plan provides loads of points that one could fault this application from Galetech. That’s – at then end of the day the (meter) stick the Council have put up there to go by and the Council have to go by that. There’s strength in numbers,” he said.
A total of 336 objections were received from members of the public on Galetech’s initial application. Members of the public now have until Wednesday, August 25 to make their final submissions to Westmeath County Council.
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