A mother whose son suffers from an extremely rare disorder that means he is extremely sensitive to light and sound has launched a petition to stop a wind turbine being built close to their home.
Patricia Murray’s 20-year-old son Denis, a bronze medallist at the All-Ireland Special Olympics last year, has Isaac Chromosome 18P disorder – thought to affect just 50 people in the world.
Denis has no speech, learning difficulties, an impaired ability to respond to danger, has seizures and is entirely dependant on his family for care.
Mrs Murray is concerned that the sound from a 40m high turbine and the light flicker could impact severely on her son’s life.
The Ballygowan mother-of-three wrote to planning officials but fears that her concerns will not be taken seriously.
Now she has launched a petition to rally supporters.
She said: “My son could become a prisoner in his own home. When there is noise he doesn’t like he puts his fingers in his ears and curls up in a ball. Even loud talking can be enough to do it to him. It will be like handing him a life sentence and his only crime is living in a rural area.
“I’m only a mummy and all I’m trying to do is protect my son.”
The proposed turbine will be 40 metres tall with blades 22m long, and if given the go-ahead, will be just 455m from the family’s home.
Despite meeting Mrs Murray to hear her concerns, Wind NI still plans to go ahead if given permission by Ards and North Down Council’s planning committee.
A spokesperson for Wind NI said: “All wind turbine projects must adhere to strict planning guidelines in relation to their scale and location. We will be guided by these and the response we receive from the planning authorities.”
The petition can be signed online at change.org by searching “Halt the Turbine”.
A decision is expected from the council’s planning committee at the end of the month.