One of Ireland’s top horse trainers has joined the Irish Daily Mirror campaign to save the countryside from wind farms and power pylons.
Racing legend Noel Meade, Irish champion trainer eight times, said turbines pose a threat to both jockeys and horses.
Noel, 64, has come out against a proposed giant wind farm near his famous Tu Va stables at Castletown, Co Meath.
He warned: “A jockey could get killed because of these enormous turbines. Just look at the height of them – 169 metres. The size of these bloody things.
“Horses scare easily, and if one bolts with a jockey, no matter how good that jockey is, God Almighty won’t stop him.
“These turbines will scare horses. I do believe someone could end up getting killed because of them.”
A company called Element Power wants to build 46 gigantic turbines in a €240million development of three clusters near Noel’s stables, where he has more than 120 prize horses in training.
The proposed generators are so big they would dwarf The Spire on Dublin’s O’Connell Street – the rotors alone are the length of Croke Park.
Noel believes shadows or flickers from the huge turbines will spook horses and may cause some to bolt.
He added: “It only takes one horse to bolt, to take flight. And then you have a real problem.” Noel, chairman of the Irish Horse Trainers Association, said it won’t be just his stables but several others in North Meath that will be affected.
He added: “These things need to be stopped. Why are they putting them up here, in the middle of farms and stables?
“This is some of the best land in the country – and they are about to ruin it.”
“We will end being surrounded by them, if it goes ahead. You could throw a stone at them, that’s how near they’ll be.”
He said wind farms have become a divisive subject and added: “We’ve had families split down the middle since the Civil War, parishes and farms of land too.
“Now the same is happening again. Some farmers have allowed these on their fields, and they have created divisions.
“And if farmers change their minds, and want to get rid of them, they can’t, as they are tied in for years.”
Noel is so opposed to the development he addressed a recent oral hearing held by An Bord Pleanala in Kells, Co Meath.
He suggested the Cheltenham fall of a horse called Annie Power was caused by shadow in front of the hurdle.
He now believes it will have a considerable effect on the equine industry and horse breeders in his county.
Top jockey Paul Carberry, who rides for Noel, also told the hearing a shadow could influence how a horse behaved.
Element Power was unavailable for comment yesterday.
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