Taoiseach Enda Kenny is “completely out of touch with the concerns of the people in the Midlands” over large-scale windfarm developments planned for the region, according to local TD Robert Troy.
Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin raised the topic of wind energy developments with the Taoiseach during Leaders’ Questions in the Dail on Wednesday.
Deputy Troy said this came amid “growing concerns that the Government is not prepared to address the concerns of residents relating to new wind farms and in particular new, larger wind turbines.”
The Longford/Westmeath TD commented: “It’s clear the Taoiseach is completely out of touch with the concerns of the people in the Midlands and he is ignoring the obvious conclusion that the 2006 regulations need a new robust legislative base to protect communities.
“There is a proposal at the moment that would see thousands of wind turbines built across the Midlands, turning the region into the largest industrial wind farm in Europe.
“The Taoiseach told the Dáil that ‘we have got a very robust, very independent’ system in place at the moment. The Taoiseach missed the point entirely. The 2006 guidelines were put in place to reflect the industry at the time. The technological advances that have been made in the meantime now require more robust rules and for them to be put on a statutory basis.
“These new wind turbines, in many cases, are three times the size of the ones introduced six years ago and we need legislation that is up to date.
“I want to state clearly that Fianna Fáil supports renewable energy but we need to ensure that we’re not fundamentally damaging the environment or communities by rushing to build wind farms without the proper consultation or legal framework.
“Micheál Martin tried sincerely to get a commitment from the Taoiseach to ensure that there is consultation with local community and legislation in place to sure communities in the Midlands and across the country are protected from the environmental and health implications of the wind farms.
“The Taoiseach repeatedly refused to commit to introducing new legislation in this area.”
Deputy Troy concluded: “I previously called on the Minister for Energy and Communications Pat Rabbitte to consider a moratorium on wind farms until there is a National Energy Strategy in place with appropriate legislation. We will continue to raise this issue and I will be working with local communities in the Midlands to ensure their voice is heard in the Dáil on this important matter.”
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