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‘Invasion of giant wind mills’ near Guagán Barra

What is being described as ‘the invasion of the giant windmills’ is being proposed for a site close to one of Ireland’s most famous beauty spots and tourism destinations, Gúgán Barra.

Objections to the proposed wind farm, comprising of seven turbines 178.5m high, dwarfing County Hall (67m) are focusing on the height of the structures and safety concerns about the proposed battery storage compound which will be also on site at Curraglass/Cappaboy above the pass of Céim an Fhia between Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh and Kealkill.

The proposal by Wingleaf Ltd, a company which CRO records show Macroom businessman, Michael Murnane, as one of its directors, has been lodged with Cork County Council since July 3 and residents have until today to lodge objections or submissions.

A local petition organised by Coiste Forbartha Bhéal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh has attracted 274 signatures. That petition focuses on allegations that the developer did not engage or consult with the community in Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh.

In the planning application document submitted by Wingleaf Ltd (Reference 20350), there are references to consultations involving the community in Kealkill and Cappaboy and St Colm’s GAA in Kealkill. There are no references to the community in the Gaeltacht village even though it is little more than 5km from the site.

In its objection, Macroom and District Environmental Group refer to the size of the proposed wind turbines and provided drawings which illustrate how the machinery at 178.5m will dwarf the size of previous turbines (67m) on the site.

The submission also refers to the concerns of a local resident, Tim Twomey, who says he is opposed to the siting of a battery storage compound at the location. “I’m absolutely opposed to the batteries. In the documentation I couldn’t find anything descriptive of what kind of batteries they are or the safety case in the event of a battery fire.”

The MDEG submission also refers to the threat to local wildlife, flora and fauna and refers to the refusal by an An Bórd Pleanála inspector to allow a previous development with windmills one third as high due to the impact on local scenery.