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Johnson & Johnson unveils plans for second turbine at Limerick facility

Johnson & Johnson has unveiled controversial plans for a second wind turbine, towering up to 100 metres high over Castletroy.

The company, which employs hundreds of people through its Vistakon subsidiary in the National Technology Park, has confirmed it has submitted a planning application to Limerick City and County Council for the structure.

It’s anticipated it will be at a height of 99 metres high, with a rotor radius of 51.5m wide.

In a statement, the firm has insisted it is the “second and final” wind turbine it has planned for its facility here – and pointed out that it will provide “significant environmental benefits”.

But the proposals are already set to attract objections from a community left reeling from the erection of a similar structure back in 2015.

Fine Gael councillor Michael Sheahan said he is “deeply concerned” about the proposals.

“We already have one here. We now might have a second one on the way. The visuals of this will be very off-putting for people. In the country, you’re quite a bit away from these wind farms. But in this particular area, the existing turbine overlooks Mulcair Drive and the Mountshannon Road,” he said.

The location for the new structure is to the north-west of the existing turbine, at a site known as “Castletroy and Rivers” in Plassey, the planning notice states.

Cllr Joe Pond, Fianna Fail, said he would have liked it if the company had engaged with local residents ahead of seeking planning permission.

“I’d say local residents will be dead set against it. To them, the current turbine is an eyesore in the community. The noise alone, I’m being told by residents in the Mulcair Drive is not nice,” he said. “I’m all for a factory being self-sufficient in its energy ratings, but surely to goodness, something can be done to reduce the noise.”

An Taisce made a submission on the first turbine, outlining concerns over its “visual impact and intrusion on the landscape”.

A spokesperson for the Limerick branch of the heritage body this week said An Taisce would look at the impact of the turbine on the local environment, as well as the benefits it would bring in terms of helping Ireland meet its commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Johnson & Johnson says the turbine will generate up to three megawatts of electricity.