August 30, 2014

Protesters turn their anger towards local politicians

Dnal Nolan | The Kerryman | 30/08/2014 |

Anger is intensifying in north Kerry over the last elected council’s designation of the region as an area of little or no scenic value in a move that opens the plain wide for windfarm development.

Over 160 Finuge locals who are against a plan by Stacks Mountain Windfarm Ltd to erect the ten tallest turbines in Ireland in the community packed out Dromclough National School at a public meeting on Thursday night.

It was the latest meeting to be held by the North Kerry Wind Turbine Awareness (NKWTA) group as part of its campaign to keep the turbines out of the community over their fears the machines would impact health, create noise and light pollution, and devalue homes.

If granted, the Finuge turbines would be the highest in the country at 156ms each from base to blade tip – ten times the height of Listowel Castle.

Public anger is rounding on local politicians now, however.

A variation to the Kerry County Development Plan, voted in by members of the last elected council, designated large parts of north Kerry as being of ‘no scenic value’; as part of a strategy providing for the erection of two-thirds of the 600 turbines planned for the county in the region.

12 local election candidates who attended an NKWTA meeting in the Listowel Arms prior to the elections gave the group their unanimous backing, vowing to amend the variation in a way that would reflect the real, scenic value of north Kerry.

Three months after the local elections and campaigners say the response from councillors is far from that which was promised. Only a handful attended Thursday’s meeting.

“Who controls the council now? Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael do and it’s up to them now to amend that variation, and if they don’t I would respectfully suggest they don’t come around our area looking for votes,” NKWTA chairperson Gerry Doyle told The Kerryman.

Mr Doyle described the designation outlined in the variation as ‘ridiculous’.

“And we were far from impressed with the response from councillors to our meeting. Dianne Nolan and Toireasa Ferris from Sinn Féin were present, as was Aoife Thornton from Fine Gael and Jimmy Moloney from Fianna Fáil, but we didn’t even get a response to our invites from the other councillors. Deputy Martin Ferris was also there,” Mr Doyle said.

The meeting was also addressed by a woman from outside the county who said her family had to leave their home due to health complications after a wind turbine was erected nearby. “One of the points she made was that children should always be included in any environmental impact statements,” Mr Doyle added.

The group also say that a report they commissioned by a Scottish expert on the technology suggests the noise of the turbines planned for Finuge would be far greater than initially thought.

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