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Fears that ‘turbines will hit tourism’

World famous views from beauty spots such as Aghadoe, Torc and Mangerton could be spoiled by wind turbines if plans for a new windfarm outside Killarney are given the green light.

This is the concern of East Kerry Wind Aware Group (EKWAG) which is calling on the Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, Kerry Branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), and the Kerry Tourism Industry Federation (KTIF) to join forces with the group to oppose plans for the windfarm in east Kerry.

The proposed development encroaches on the townlands of Killarney, Barraduff, Kilcummin, Glenflesk, Rathmore and Gneeveguilla and a map compiled by the group, identifying the potential locations of turbines, shows that these ‘enormous’ structures will have a visual impact on many of Killarney’s key tourist attractions.

Though the exact location of the proposed turbines has yet to be finalised, the campaign group – based on information gathered – claim they will have a visual impact on Killarney’s tourist sites.

On Tuesday, East Kerry Wind Aware made a submission to Kerry County Council’s new County Development Plan 2022 -2028 which is at predraft stage. In its submission it claims that the proposed windfarm would have a ‘detrimental’ affect on tourism.

“Tourism makes a substantial contribution to the national exchequer and Kerry is vital to the national tourism strategy. The visual impact of the turbines is not suitable to any tourist area and not in keeping with its surroundings and would seriously injure the amenity of the area,” the group stated.

Chairperson Tony Mackey this week said he is calling on Kerry tourism bodies to meet them to discuss the impact such a large-scale windfarm development would have on the region and on Kerry’s premier town.

“Killarney is the jewel-stone of tourism in Kerry and these turbines will be seen from many tourism spots, including the approach roads. These turbines are too big and too close to residents and to tourism sites,” he said.

“They are enormous, they are 1.5 times higher than Killarney Cathedral,” he claimed.

The submission also outlines concerns about noise from turbines, construction risks to the area and the destruction of flora and fauna in the region.

No planning application has been submitted for the proposed windfarm but the project came to light in recent weeks when local landowners received letters from a Galway-based consultancy firm MKO seeking land.

The letter did not state what the land was required for but it is understood that plans are being progressed for at least 14 turbines in east Kerry.