A country riding school for kids and young adults with brain disorders is facing ruin over huge wind turbines.
For the 40 riders who attend the Riding for the Disabled Centre at Kells Equestrian in Co Meath, the tranquility of the location is a key part of their therapy.
But if plans to build 46 super-turbines for the area get the go-ahead, the school will be encircled by 600ft wind-fans with rotors the length of Croke Park, measuring 450ft.
Most of the riders suffer from epilepsy and autism – two disorders that can be severely affected by the vibrations and the low-frequency noise these super-turbines give off as well as the movement of the blades.
The shadow flicker blocks the sun and causes light to flick on and off. It affects both of the disorders, and autistic people are also distracted and distressed by spinning objects.
The school’s co-ordinator Mary Walsh believes the turbines will have a severe effect on the students’ development.
She told the Irish Mirror: “They will really suffer as a result of this. We have one little boy here who is so sensitive to noise and vibration he will close his eyes and cover his ears if a truck rumbles past a good distance away.
“I have been running Riding for the Disabled here for 20 years now. And after all the work and effort we put in to helping people, all the progress we’ve made – and now this comes along and threatens to destroy everything.
“These enormous turbines are going to be all around a centre for the most vulnerable people, and it will have a severe effect on them.
“It’s an injustice and shows a complete lack of humanity. If there was a rare bird in the trees, or a plant on the land, or a historical artefact found, this project would be stopped for it.
“But when it directly affects young people with disabilities, no one cares.”
The super-turbines are planned for the area as part of the Emlagh project to build 46 turbines in clusters over 30 sq km.
One cluster of up to 10 turbines will be beside Kells Equestrian, which is the base for Riding for the Disabled.
The turbines are being put up by a private company called Element Power, who will then sell the energy to the state to provide power for the national grid. The giant wind-fans create the power, which is then carried by ugly pylons and the Irish Mirror is campaigning to save our countryside from the blight of huge power pylons and wind turbines.
State-owned Eirgrid is planning a €3.8billion upgrade of its network that will see hundreds of 200-ft high pylons erected across rural Ireland, and 200 more wind farms with thousands of turbines built to provide the power.
Mary explained that Riding for the Disabled – a nationwide not-for-profit organisation that promotes recreational and therapeutic horseriding – works mostly due to its calming effect.
She revealed: “Horses are great therapy, you cannot recreate what a horse can do, in a clinic session. Keeping calm is vital for those with epilepsy and autism and that’s the environment we need to have for them.”
Olivia Best’s son James, five, attends Riding for the Disabled, to help with his photosensitive epilepsy, triggered by flashing light.
James suffers a seizure a week, and the horse therapy helps keep him calm. Teacher Olivia said: “Super-turbines with huge moving rotors are one of the worst things that go up near where James goes riding.
“It took us a long time to get James sorted out medically, and at that, he still has a seizure a week, although they are becoming less frequent and less severe.”
Element Power did not return a call for comment.
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