People concerned about the proliferation of wind farms in North Kerry and the impact of the giant structures on tourism say they have been left deeply upset by Fáilte Ireland’s submission to the County Development Plan – for a special ‘Energy Trail’ in the region.
In its submission to Kerry County Council’s draft County Development Plan (CDP) 2022-2028, Fáilte Ireland stated the Authority should develop a ‘Renewable Energy Trail in North Kerry’.
The region shoulders the majority of the renewable sector in the county and is braced for widespread renewable development into the future.
One campaigner described Fáilte Ireland’s proposal as nothing less than ‘shocking’ this week.
The proposal comes amid a slew of other submissions to the CDP taking issue with the development of wind energy in the county. The Kerry Hotels Federation and the Killarney Chamber of Commerce in particular each stated they believe the development of wind farms east of Killarney would seriously hinder the famous tourism industry of the area.
Former Chair of the North Kerry Tourism Forum John O’Sullivan described the Fáilte Ireland proposal as ‘shocking’ this week.
“I think it would be an insult to North Kerry people all over the world,” Mr O’Sullivan told The Kerryman.
“It’s deeply upsetting, rather than maximise the scenery or rich heritage of North Kerry, Fáilte Ireland has decided this is the right fit. We should, in my view, be declared a natural heritage area in order to preserve our unspoilt landscape, history and heritage.
He said it was very concerning that a State body such as Fáilte Ireland would suddenly endorse a sector with ostensibly nothing to do with its tourism mission: “Now you have Fáilte Ireland coming in endorsing windfarms. What are they saying? That people would want to, and should, come into North Kerry to walk under these wind turbines?
“There are many worrying questions raised by this if this is some initial plan that’s in its earliest stages.
“Has Fáilte Ireland consulted Kerry County Council and local interest groups on this? Is the Minister for Tourism and Minister Norma Foley aware of this?
“Has Fáilte Ireland changed its national policy regarding renewables? This would seem to go completely against its stance over windfarms close to Donald Trump’s resort in Doonbeg, to which they objected,” Mr O’Sullivan added.
Mr O’Sullivan already found out by FOI that Fáilte Ireland did not object to a single windfarm in Kerry. “Going on this, they are not likely to on the basis they will be a tourist asset.”
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