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Cork brothers and sister who lived close to windfarm settle actions for €225k

Two brothers and a sister from the same family who claimed they suffered illness as a result of noise, vibrations and shadow flicker from a Cork windfarm have settled their High Court actions for a total of €225,000.

Laura David and Jack Kelleher claimed their family had to leave their farm at Gowlane North, Donoughmore, Co. Cork, four years ago after a 10-turbine wind farm began operating just over 700 metres from their property.

In the High Court today Laura (aged 15), David (aged 17) and Jack (aged 10) who now live eight miles away from the family farm settled their actions for a total of €225,000.

The settlements which were without an admission of liability were approved by Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds and occurred after mediation.

The judge was told that other separate but related claims brought by members of the Kelleher family for alleged nuisance remain outstanding but counsel on behalf of the family was hopeful they would be resolved.

The Kelleher siblings had claimed they, along with their parents, had to leave their family home, at Gowlane North, Donoughmore Co. Cork, in late 2016 several months after a 10-turbine wind farm went into operation.

They claimed the noise, vibrations and shadow flicker from the turbines, located just over 700m from their family farm, resulted in them suffering from various illnesses.

These included nosebleeds, ear aches, skin rashes, swollen and painful hands, loss of power in their limbs, sleep disturbance, and headaches.

Through their father Valentine Kelleher, the three siblings sued Green Energy Supply Ltd, which owns and operates a wind turbine installation known as Knockduff Wind Farm in Co. Cork.

The actions were also against company director Michael Murnane of Gortyleahy, Macroom, Co Cork, who is the owner of Green Energy Supply.

The defendants had denied all the claims they had been allegedly negligent resulting in the siblings becoming ill. They also denied that noise, shadow flicker and vibration from the windfarm had intruded onto the family’s farm.

The case came before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds who was informed by John Rogers SC for the Kellehers that the case had been settled.

Liability was not admitted in any of the actions, and counsel said that medical evidence submitted in support of the Kelleher’s claim was fully contested.

The judge, noting the dispute over the medical reports and that liability remained an issue in the cases, described the offer as “good”.

In their action the Kellehers sought damages for alleged nuisance and personal injury they claimed was due to an alleged failure of the defendants to take sufficient precautions to avoid noise, vibration and shadow flicker from the windfarm.

It was further alleged there was an alleged failure to operate the windfarm in a manner to avoid causing unreasonable levels of noise, vibrations and shadow flicker nor did the defendants pay any heed to the complaints.

It was also alleged the windfarm was operated in a manner that allegedly did not respect their constitutional family, personal and property, rights.

The Kellehers claimed they started experiencing health problems in and around their family farm from May 2016.

They claimed they had to moved out of their home in November 2016.

After spending some time in a hotel, the family has relocated to a property at Ballyglass, Grenagh, Co Cork, which is eight miles away from their farm.

They claimed that their symptoms eased after they moved away, but returned if they spent any time attending at or assisting on the family farm.

The defendants in denying the claims, or that the Kelleher’s constitutional rights had been breached, said that the windfarm was operated in a lawful manner.

Mr Rogers told the court that the settlement, including the ruling of the awards, arose following mediation between the parties conducted by retired Judge Paul Gilligan.

Counsel said that given the circumstances, especially given that the medical evidence was hotly contested, he was recommending that the settlement offers be approved by the court.

Counsel said that as part of the settlement Laura (aged 15 ) whose ailments were more severe compared to her brothers was to receive €125,000. Her brothers David (aged 17) and Jack (aged 10) were to receive €50,000, counsel added.

Counsel said other separate but related claims brought by members of the Kelleher family for alleged nuisance remain outstanding, but he was hopeful that they would be resolved.

Those cases were adjourned to a date in March.