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Gardai called as council meeting is disrupted by turbine protest

Tempers flared at Carlow County Council headquarters last week as Gardaí were called to the scene to escort irate Old Leighlin residents from the council chambers.

The group had been staging a protest outside the council offices on the Athy Road against a proposed move by Cavan Energy Company Gaeltech to place 21 industrial wind turbines, which would be among the largest on-shore in Europe, in Old Leighlin. The residents of the area have held a number of meetings in relation to the issue and are determined to oppose it by any means necessary.

Twenty anti-turbine representatives attended the meeting at the council chambers last Monday seeking council backing to defer the current planning application for the 21 142m wind turbines.

A spokesperson for the anti-turbine protesters, Tyrone Kelly, said: ‘Even though new national guidelines for wind farms will come on line shortly, the Carlow County Manager refused to even consider deviating from the county strategy, insisting current planning submissions shall be strictly adhered to, regardless of changes to national policy. This is effectively leaving Old Leighlin constituents high and dry and exposed to outdated guidelines.’

Mr Kelly said that several independent councillors dismissed the inputs of other members as insincere and only posturing for political gain for the imminent elections. He said ‘One of the councillors even turned to the gallery saying that they were all being “conned”’.

No arrests were made as a result of the council meeting but a number of the anti-wind turbine protesters were escorted from the premises by Gardaí.