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New twist in controversial wind farm plans

Plans for a controversial wind farm development in Co. Donegal have taken a new twist.

A Cork based company has lodged a pre application consultation with An Bord Pleanala in relation to proposals to develop a wind farm in an area stretching from north of the Barnsemore Gap to near Killygordon.

The initial planning application was refused by An Bord Pleanala.

The Finn Valley Wind Action Group has today issued the following statement.

“Although we disclosed a few weeks ago that we believed a new application was imminent, we are disappointed to learn that Planree Ltd have lodged a pre application consultation with An Bord Pleanala with a view to a renewed application in the area.”

“This comes closely followed by incredible revelations in the press in the last week overclaims made by Mr Noel Shortt, a Derry businessman, in an Oxford Court of a mystery windfarm development in Donegal.

“On the court record, in defence of a business associate facing a jail term for motoring offences, Mr Shortt claimed that 35,000 acres had been acquired from 100 farmers and that a billion euro windfarm project in Donegal was at risk. This story created great worry and speculation particularly in the Finn Valley area yet during the week both Donegal Co. Council and An Bord Pleanala have denied any knowledge of this project.”

The statement continued: “In the penultimate stages of Planreeā€™s initial planning process we learned that Planree had acquired a grid connection from a previously refused windfarm in West Donegal.”

The Finn Valley Wind Action Group believes that there are ” serious questions” hanging over the transfer and legality of this grid connection.

It has subsequently learned that Cuilfeach Teoranta of which Mr Shortt was a director was the company involved in the transfer of the grid connection in West Donegal to Carrickaduff, in east Donegal.

The statement added: “Too many unanswered questions lie around how the grid connection was obtained and indeed the parties involved in the transfer which may question its validity. More transparency is required and we are asking for a full disclosure of the facts including, the location of this wind farm disclosed by Mr Shortt in the Oxford Court and what connection Planree have to this if any. Due to the effect this development would have the local community we call for a full investigation be carried out by the relevant authorities.

It concluded: “Finn ValleyWind Action group remain committed to opposing any development that would have any effect on the daily lives and amenities of the local residents of the Finn Valley area.”