A mother with autistic children has told how she fears plans to build a wind farm beside their home could play havoc with her kids’ health.
Married mum-of-five Maeve Moss has lived in a remote valley with Caoimhe, 15, Padraig, 13, Ciara, seven, Cliodhna, five, and three-year-old Conor for more than a decade.
Padraig, Ciara and Cliodhna have autism and attend schools with customised sound-proof rooms.
But now there are plans to construct 150-metre high turbines around 450-500 metres away from her four-bedroom home in Killygordon, Co Donegal.
Mrs Moss fears the low frequency noise emitted from the 40 spinning electricity-generating machines could exacerbate her children’s condition.
The 43-year-old special needs assistant said: “Every child with autism has different degrees.
“It varies from person to person how they might react to sensory overload.
“For example, the noise of a coin dropping can be 100 times louder for a child with autism. With my daughter Cliodhna she has a lot of sensory issues with her autism. It could be something simple like the noise of the TV.
“For Cliodhna to go outside playing she has to wear earmuffs because she can’t cope with the noise levels.
“If she goes into sensory overload she starts banging her head or she will bite herself or others.
“She’s constantly bruised. I’m absolutely petrified if these turbines go up.
“They are going to be coming right up behind my house.
“I’m up at quite a height and they are up higher again. Does this mean I am not going to be able to let my children go out and play in the garden?
“We’re living in the countryside for that specific reason – we’re out in the quiet.
“The low frequency sound of these wind farms coming down through the valley now will mean she will not be able to go outside her own door.
“It will be devastating and could force us to move house. It can be hard enough without having that noise 24/7.”
Padraig was first diagnosed with the condition after he started to display symptoms of autism as a toddler.
Maeve explained: “He was about two- and-a-half when we first took him to get diagnosed.
“Ciara is in the autism spectrum but she would be more Asperger’s. She still doesn’t have a lot of speech and is not toilet trained.
“Each one of them is so different on the spectrum. It won’t just affect kids with autism – it will affect kids with any sort of sensory issues.
“I’ve never hid the fact my children have autism. It’s not something I’m embarrassed about.
“I’ve worked really hard with my children to give them the best chances that they have in life. I try to give them as independent a life as possible. I like to get them out there – if these plans go ahead it could be devastating.”
Maeve along with many other groups has backed the Irish Mirror’s campaign to Save Our Countryside from ruin.
She added: “I will continue harassing [Toaiseach] Enda Kenny and Environment Minister Alan Kelly – they have to take these children into consideration.”
Planree LTD, the Cork-based company behind the project, submitted an
application to An Bord Pleanala to build the wind farm at Carrickduff Hill near Barnesmore and Lismullyduff, outside Killygordon.
But Donegal County Council has
recently urged the Government to
immediately introduce a ban on the granting of planning permission for any new wind farm.
The Department of Health’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Colette Bonner, said people with sensitivity to
low-frequency vibration can be at risk of “wind turbine syndrome”.
But the World Health Organisation said current research does not show any direct health effects of wind turbines.
The Irish Mirror tried to get a response from Planree LTD but nobody could be reached for comment.
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