Hundreds of objections will be lodged by Finuge locals as part of the community’s first formal move in its fight against plans to erect giant wind turbines in the low-lying rural area.
Anger was palpable at a massive public meeting in Finuge on Monday night attended by up to 200 locals fiercely opposed to the plans which are currently before Kerry County Council.
Company Stacks Mountain Windfarm Ltd hopes to erect the ten tallest wind turbines ever seen in the State – at a height of 157 metres – in the heart of the farming community. The turbines, labelled ‘monstrosities’ by locals on Monday, would dwarf even the Great Pyramid in Egypt as well as Dublin’s Spire.
Locals say the visual impact of the turbines would utterly transform the attractive community – officially a heritage village – devalue homes, cause noise pollution and ‘shadow flicker’ and lead to a general deterioration of the quality of life in the community.
And many are now of the feeling that north Kerry is being ‘sacrificed’ by local government to supply the county’s wind-energy requirements with large tracts of populated areas categorised as potential windfarm locations – from the Stacks Mountains over to Lerrig Lough in Kilmoyley.
“These things are going to be huge,” committee member Anne Quilter told Monday night’s public meeting at Dromclough National School. “Bird’s big wheel is forty metres tall, these will be four times the size of that going up here.”
Anger was also directed at the apparent downgrading of large parts of north Kerry, including Finuge, as being of ‘no scenic value’ under the new County Development Plan (CDP). “That makes me angry. I chose to come here and make my life in north Kerry,” Ms Quilter said.
“The CDP suggests that Kerry should produce one third of the nation’s renewable energy, to do that they are going to locate most of the windfarms in north Kerry…we have to fight this,” Ms Quilter said, also rejecting claims the development would result in jobs: “This is going to decimate our community.”
Clinics are to be held all week in Dromclough school where the windfarm committee will help people fill in objections. Chairman Gerry Doyle is urging locals to ring Kerry County Council planners to ensure the plan is validated as quickly as possible as no objections can be lodged before then.
The five week deadline for objections is meanwhile ticking down.
Among the most forceful evidence of windfarm impact heard on the night came from Banemore woman Shirley Thornton who said that shadow flicker and noise had reduced her quality of life. “I actually have these at the back of my house..the shadow flicker is constant coming in and the noise is like planes flying overhead.”
Locals in the Irremore side of Finuge said they can hear the Banemore windfarm – two-and-a-half miles from their homes.
But the committee are optimistic at the outset of the fight. They are receiving guidance from a similar group that succeeded in blocking a wind development in Offaly.
The committee also revealed its plans to launch large balloons to the height of the turbines in an event designed to give people a real idea of the scale of the proposed development as well as to garner more publicity for their cause.
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