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Wind farm reduction: County council at war with new Environment Minister after he told them to reverse decision

A County council is at war with the new Environment Minister after he told them to reverse a decision on reducing windfarms.

Representatives in Donegal have blasted the instructions from Alan Kelly as an “affront to democracy”.

The council passed a motion to limit the areas where windfarms can be built by a vote of 18-11 as part of their County Development Plan.

This came following a period of consultation which was overwhelmingly backed by locals, with 98.5% in favour of the plans.

Donegal Mayor John Campbell told the Irish Mirror: “In comparison to other public consultations that we’ve had, this has garnered the greatest amount of replies and they’ve been overwhelmingly in support of the removal of these areas from consideration for windfarming.”

Mr Campbell said the council was furious the Department of the Environment had stepped in to overrule them.

Donegal is the second largest supplier to the national energy grid, behind Cork. But Mr Kelly instructed them to remove the directives which he feels are not in keeping with the National Energy Strategy.

Joe Brennan of the Glenties Windfarm Information Group said the move undermined both the local authority and the public consultation process.

He added: “What is the point of consulting the public if you intend on blatantly ignoring them?”

Independent councillor Michael Mac Ghiolla Easbuig said: “It’s very simple. If we make a decision, there’s been a vote and the public support it, it should be respected by the Government.”