A couple say they are forced to live on a cocktail of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and sleeping pills just to cope with the ‘constant droning’ of two wind turbines.
Dorothy, 63, and Michael Keane, 65, retired from their Wicklow home to renovate a country home in rural Roscommon in 2004. ‘This was to be our plan, our retirement, where we would spend the rest of our days together,’ Mrs Keane said.
The couple settled into their new home – but in 2011 two wind turbines were erected just metres from their house.
The pair say they were not given an option on the structures being erected. Mrs Keane says they had to ‘put up with it’, even though they felt like they were ‘under invasion’.
The ‘droning, pulsating, humming noise’ is constant, according to the couple. They claim they cannot get a good night’s sleep and that they are suffering health problems as a result of the turbines’ presence.
On Valentine’s Day this year, Mrs Keane said the situation reached ‘breaking point’.
She said: ‘I was collapsing from it all. It got to the point where I just couldn’t function anymore. I was up a lot of nights – I felt particularly unwell. It just hit me, we were so stuck.’
Mr Keane said: ‘The quality of our life has gone down so much since these things (wind turbines) were erected near our home. The noise is 24 hours every day and you simply cannot sleep through the night.
‘On Valentine’s Day my wife sat on the side of the bed and told me she just couldn’t cope anymore. It has got to the point where we are just panicking and this is supposed to be our retirement.
‘We just can’t live like this anymore. Because we can’t sleep, we can’t function properly and our relationship has been affected because we are just at self-preservation level.
‘We went to the GP – I hadn’t been in two years – and he said to us, when he heard we were living near wind turbines, that the best thing we can do is to move.
‘We can’t do that – this is our retirement, our home. We put all our money in to it and we can’t just flit. He didn’t initially want to put us on tablets but now we are on sleeping tablets, anxiety pills and anti-depressants.’
Despite the Keanes’ situation, the Government plans to erect over 2,000 turbines in the Midlands.
The Keanes say it is not their intention to seek compensation – and they just wish to ‘live out our retirement in peace’.
However, if wind farms spring up across the Midlands, there could be a risk of ‘serial litigation’, said Senator John Kelly, from Roscommon.
Mr Kelly launched a Private Members’ Bill against wind turbines but it stalled after Enda Kenny indicated last May it did not have Cabinet backing.
Mr Kelly said: ‘They (wind turbines) will destroy our countryside and if they are erected across the Midlands, it will only be a matter of time before people are taking litigation cases.’
The Keanes said they have been in ‘constant’ contact with Gaelectric, the British company that owns the turbines, but as of yet, there is no answer to their problem.
A spokesman for Gaelectric said: ‘The company seeks to be a good neighbour to the communities living in the vicinity of our wind farms. ‘We have been in regular contact with Michael and Dorothy Keane in our efforts to understand their concerns and how these might be effectively and fairly addressed.
‘This includes our offer to conduct further noise surveys by mutually agreed and suitably qualified consultants.’
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