June 4, 2021

Derrybrien Wind farm issue: ‘Lack of urgency’ on tackling €15,000 daily fines slammed

Sylvester Phelan | Agriland | June 4, 2021 | www.agriland.ie

The government has been called on to intervene to put an end to the “waste of public money” that is the Derrybrien Wind farm issue.

Sinn Féin representative Louis O’Hara criticised the “lack of urgency” to address the daily fines of €15,000 relating to Derrybrien Wind farm in south Galway.

Commenting on the matter, O’Hara said: “In November 2019, Ireland was fined €5 million in the European Court of Justice for the state’s failure to carry out an environmental impact assessment at Derrybrien Windfarm in south Galway and a further €15,000 a day until the situation is resolved.

“It is now over a year and a half since the EU Court ruling and we are still no closer to a solution to this issue. Ireland has been fined over €13.5 million and rising.”

Noting that in August last year, the ESB lodged an application with An Bord Pleanála for substitute consent, which is a retrospective environmental impact assessment, O’Hara highlighted:

“This application could not progress because Ireland’s substitute consent law was found by the Supreme Court to be invalid under EU environmental law because it did not provide for public participation.

“In December the government passed the Planning and Development Act to allow for public participation and consultation in the substitute consent process for applications currently before An Bord Pleanála.

“Six months later there still has been no public consultation held on the planning application and no engagement with the local community in Derrybrien from the ESB while the fines continue to stack up.”

Describing this delay as “outrageous”, O’Hara questioned “what are they waiting for”, adding:

“The ESB’s lack of urgency in progressing the application and addressing the daily fines is unacceptable.

“It’s long past time that the government intervened and ensured that the ESB engages with key stakeholders, in particular the local community whose views have been ignored from the very beginning.

“This is an outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money – especially given that the state has had since 2008, when the initial EU Court ruling on Derrybrien was made, to resolve the issue.

“€13.5 million would go a long way towards addressing the housing and health crises and tackling the huge levels of inequality that exist in this country.

“We need government intervention as a matter of urgency to put an end to this unacceptable waste of public money,” O’Hara concluded.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2021/06/04/derrybrien-wind-farm-issue-lack-of-urgency-on-tackling-e15000-daily-fines-slammed/