In recognising the dire need for freeing our countries from the tyranny of oil dependent economies, we wholeheartedly support the use of renewable and sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal, like millions of others. However, they must be put into practice wisely, with consideration of complex factors particular to each locale. The Mulvihill Clan, with current members on six continents, is deeply troubled about the threat from the wind turbine project to Sliabh Bán in County Roscommon, at the very heart of the territory of the Corca Achlann, the ancient tribe from which the Mulvihills and Brennans arose. The Corca Achlann ruled the lands west of the crest; the O’Hanleys, of the Cenel Dobtha tribe, ruled the eastern side of the mountain. Both of our tribes were part of a larger group called the Tir Tuatha (the three tribes). The MaoilMhichil line is mentioned as far back as the seventh century, according to Chieftain James Mulvihill. Ancient burials unearthed during the digging of the foundation for the cross erected on the mountain in 1950 underscore the reality that construction would destroy archaeological deposits that have not yet been located, as the mountain has such a rich and complex prehistory. It is currently a holy site to many and undoubtedly was in the past as well.
Our clan visits the beautiful mountain during our reunions, as the mountain is extremely significant to our history. Our visits help the local economy. We also encourage tourism to the area in our newsletter and on our website. The mountain is also a part of the Cruachan Ai royal complex, the seat of power for all of Connacht in ancient times. Sliabh Bán is considered to have been the last hold out of the ancient Fir Bolg people who preceded the Gaels in the area. It is mentioned in one of Ireland’s oldest tales, The Táin.
Perhaps most imperiled would be the many birds, which migrate across Sliabh Bán, especially the night migrants. The mountain is directly on the northeast-southwest flyway across Ireland.
Breeding on Sliabh Bán itself are kestrels, short-eared owls, marsh harriers, snipe woodcocks, sparrowhawks, ravens and others. Whooper swans, a very delicate and vulnerable species in the area, winter nearby. The spinning blades of the turbines will prove lethal to both resident populations and migrating flocks that have no adaptation whatsoever to avoid such a threat. The rare pine marten would also be gravely imperiled, as would uncommon wildflowers and butterflies.
The above issues have not been adequately addressed in the planning process. Please put the turbines elsewhere.
The Mulvihill Clan joins the growing chorus along with the people of Roscommon who oppose this project. We hope and pray that our beloved Sliabh Bán will not be irreparably altered and its habitats destroyed, its threatened species and wild creatures killed due to a poorly planned project that could easily be sited elsewhere. We sincerely hope that our worldwide organization will continue to be able to travel to Sliabh Bán and have our reunions at this very special place for years to come.
Mary Ann Mulvihill-Decker,
Deputy Chieftain for North America,
Mulvihill Clan Editor,
The Mulvihill Voice
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