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Golf club among those objecting to proposals for €200m wind farm

Doonbeg Golf Club has joined forces with the Irish Peatland Conservation Council and Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) in opposing plans for a €200m wind farm in Clare.

The US-owned golf club lodged a formal objection with An Bord Pleanála against the planned 415ft- high, 45-turbine, wind farm at Doonbeg that has tip heights more than twice that of Dublin’s Liberty Hall.

The plan has divided opinion in the community. Some 79 local landowners stand to benefit from lucrative lease agreements with German-based West Coastal Windpower.

In July, West Coastal Windpower lodged further information on the plan. In response, Doonbeg Golf Club told the appeals’ board the wind farm “would have serious implications for the tourist industry in the area”.

A consultant for the golf club, Maria Lombard said: “The choice of location appears to have been undertaken on the basis of ease of construction and operation for this particular operator.

“It has no strategic grounding and we submit does not represent sustainable development or a sound and planned approach to the provision of strategic infrastructure.”

The golf club claimed the plans “would have significant implications for the economic well being of local businesses”.

“The development would set an undesirable precedent for the location of any strategic infrastructure in the absence of a strategic planned approach,” it said.

In a fresh objection, the peatland body said “approval of this development would be setting a very bad example for nature conservation and could compromise Ireland’s commitment to conserving protected areas throughout the country”.

Meanwhile, managing director of the West Clare Railway, Jackie Whelan said: “The wind farm would be an awful blight on the landscape. There is quite a lot of tension in the area over the wind farm, but people are keeping a shut mouth on it. Even within families, there are different views over it.”

A decision is due on Oct 30.