August 15, 2017

Wicklow wind farm developer seeks injunction against protesters

Aodhan O'Faolain |

Protesters against a Co Wicklow wind farm were putting themselves in danger in a bid to prevent the laying of cables connected to the development, the High Court heard on Monday.

The company claims the protesters are putting themselves in harm’s way of dangerous equipment, Limited, the developer of the wind farm in Co Wicklow, has launched court proceedings against the protesters who, the wind farm company claims, are interfering with works designed to connect the project to the national electricity grid.

The company claims the protesters are putting themselves in dangerous situations with equipment, including excavation machinery, in order to prevent the laying of cables to connect the six-turbine wind farm at Ballycumber, Tinahely, Arklow, Co Wickow, to an ESB substation at Kilmagig in Co Wicklow.

Ballycumber Wind Farm claimed in court that if the alleged interference is allowed to continue, the firm will suffer serious financial damage of up €3.1 million. The firm now seeks injunctions preventing the protesters from impeding, interfering or obstructing works being carried out to link the wind farm with the ESB substation.

Grid connection

The company also seeks orders preventing the defendants from obstructing it from carrying out grid connection works being done on what the company says are public roads. Barrister Stephen Dowling, for the company, told Mr Justice Charles Meenan that the protesters were believed to be members of the South Wicklow Wind Action Group.

Mr Dowling said that in the last week the contractor who had been hired to carry out works was unable to work after some people had stood in front of a JCB digger.

Counsel said communications from the protesters suggested the works were being carried out on private lands and amounted to a trespass. He said this was disputed and the company is conducting works on public roads only.

Mr Dowling said the grid connection works are vital to the €31 million wind farm project which had a timeline whereby the wind farm would be ready to supply electricity by December 2017. The protests were putting that timeline in jeopardy and important completion deadlines for various stages would be missed.

Permission to serve short notice of the injunction application on the protesters was granted, on an ex parte basis, by Judge Meenan who made the matter returnable to later this week.

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