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Residents pledge to make windfarm the hot election topic

Politicians who voted to make north Kerry the preferred location for windfarms in the county are facing a tough canvass in Finuge at the local elections – where residents are campaigning to make it the hot issue on the doorsteps.

They mounted a protest against the proposed windfarm outside Kerry County Buildings on Monday while councillors met for their monthly meeting inside. Despite the large presence of Finuge protestors who are fighting plans to locate the ten biggest turbines that would ever be erected in Ireland in their home area, there wasn’t a peep about windfarms from councillors inside who were more concerned with the cost of Storm Darwin.

Protestors will face a challenge in making a major political issue of the windfarm plans for north Kerry in the face of critical economic factors including unemployment, emigration and now coastal protection.

However, they say the people of north Kerry are waking up to the fact that a massive swathe of the region is earmarked to carry two-thirds of the wind turbines planned for the county.

“There’s an area that stretches from Ballylongford to Ardfert selected as the location for these turbines and if the plans in Finuge are passed it will open the floodgates for the erection of 450 of the things altogether,” Chairman of the North Kerry Wind Turbine Awareness Group Gerry Doyle told The Kerryman.

Residents of over 300 homes in Finuge are determind in their opposition to the windfarm plans submitted to the council by Stacks Mountain Windfarm Ltd – over fears from health concerns to the effect the 156-metre high turbines would have on the rural community.

Planners in Kerry County Council have already received over 100 submissions objecting to the plans, which gives an indication of how strongly Finuge is resisting the windfarm.

Local anger is now turning on the county councillors who voted in November of 2012 for the variation to the County Development Plan that earmarked north Kerry as the preferred location for wind turbines.

“I want councillors to explain to me how 450 wind turbines are not going to spoil the landscape,” Mr Doyle said.