The prospect of 50 massive wind turbines dotting the hills within five miles of Bunclody drew a bumper attention to a public meeting at the Millrace Hotel last week. Also among those in the Millrace were local councillors Kathleen Codd Nolan, Michael Kinsella, Pat Cody and Declan MacPartlin.
The meeting was called by the Bunclody community council, chaired by Joe Reilly, with secretary Greg Doheny, Corragh householder Lorna Moorhead and Ray Byrne of CREW (Campaign for Responsible Engagement with Wind Energy) also at the top table. The audience heard too from Phil Hickey about his person experience of living near a ‘green energy’ site.
North Wexford has been earmarked by Wexford County Council as prime country for windfarms. The three turbines at Kilbranish north of the town are a long established part of the landscape.
They have been joined in the last two years by the 18 turbines that are already turning in the breezes across the hills at Ballindaggin-Boolamore.
Now the public is becoming aware that more are on the way, this time east of the town. Planning permission has been granted for 10 units on Gibbet Hill and nine more on the other side of the Bunclody to Carnew road in the Johnstown-ballynastraw area.
Also due to be erected are nine windmills at Ballycadden south of Gibbet Hill. Meanwhile, county councils in Carlow and Wicklow have identified the upland areas next door to North Wexford as potentially prime locations for meeting their wind energy quotas.
‘The town will be literally encircled by wind farms,’ said one woman who attended last week’s meeting, ‘particularly if the Carlow developments go ahead.
‘We are baffled as to how this scale of development can go ahead.’ She pointed out that most of the surrounding countryside is listed as environmentally sensitive.
While concerned residents gathered inside the hotel, personnel preparing to install the next wave of 80-plus metre high windmill have been staying in the hotel. With work so far advanced, council officials believe that it is probably too late to challenge the planning permission decisions already taken to allow the town of Bunclody become the windy city without the risk of expensive legal cases.
A further public meeting on the topic is due to be called shortly.
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