A group of Erris landowners have reacted angrily to a planning application for a wind-farm in Cordoverry.
Just before Christmas, the newly-formed Cordoverry Wind Farm Ltd lodged a planning application with Mayo County Council for a 10-turbine windfarm covering 190 hectares.
The proposed wind farm would be situated on part of the lands acquired by Bord na Mona between the 1950s and the 1990s for the purpose of extracting peat to fuel Bellacor-rick station.
Known as the Oweninny acquisition, it comprises over 5,000 hectares in total. In 2003, Bord na Mona received planning permission from Mayo County Council for a wind farm on over 5,000 hectares in the area.
Michael Moyles, from Cordoverry, Dooleeg, is one of the local farmers upset by the new proposal.
“Bord na Mona told the farmers at the time the land would go back to them when the peat was gone and they could graze it all they wanted and graze it we did. The grazing rights were left to the locals and I and many neighbours have grazed the whole area year in year out all my lifetime,” he said.
“It came as a big shock to us to find out last Christmas that Bord na Mona had sold off nearly 500 acres of Cordoverry Mountain that we used to own and still graze,” Mr Moyles commented.
Mr Moyles and others are angry that their grazing rights to the land could be extinguished and feel the land should have been offered to the families from which they were acquired.
“The lands have been grazed by our community since time immemorial right up to the present day,” he said.
Mr Moyles said they want answers as to why the lands were not offered to local farm-ers and how much was paid for them.
“We would like an honest and truthful explanation from all those involved and I think we are entitled to it.”
He said that the local community has almost no access to wind resources and no local family who applied to have their lands included in the new Mayo County Council wind strategy succeeded.
Some residents have contacted local county councillors and met with them yesterday (Monday) to address their concerns and called on the application to be refused.
They are opposed to the application on a number of grounds and state that the development is “not in the interests of the local community, the public generally and might reasonably be expected to lead to unrest if it were to proceed”.
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