I have managed this website for more than thirteen years and I don’t normally comment on “political” matters, but I am against the concentration of these turbines in our midlands communities.
Let me preface by saying that I am not completely against wind turbines. I accept that they could be part of a solution to a shared problem. But they are not the only solution, and they are not always appropriate – especially when you are talking about the volume proposed in already populated rural areas.
I believe that 43 turbines in a low-lying midland area with low wind density is excessive and that the government, developers and planners are abusing vulnerable, rural communities like this under a flawed green agenda.
When a “solution” involves the construction of turbines that have to be up to 200m high to function, when boglands and countryside have to be filled with tonnes of concrete for them to stand on (90,000 truckloads expected at the Bord na Mona site), acres of forestry and vegetation have to felled and cleared to facilitate the necessary infrastructure and established wildlife must be sacrificed to make room for all of this; surely we need to ask, just how “green” a solution is this?
It’s also very easy for people who are not directly impacted to write off the fears of the residents living closest to these developments. There are lazy and predictable accusations of “NIMBYism” when the reality is that they themselves wouldn’t want these supersized turbines towering directly over their homes, even if they claim otherwise. Imagine these turbines were planned for an area like Fore (as an example) – there would be outrage.
Then there’s “the guilt” which is laid on thickly by the activists and developers. The latest project website is full of soundbites telling us that we “all” have a responsibility to embrace renewable energy, but it seems that the “all” is selective and that some communities are being expected to do more than others. It also includes quotes from “climate activists” who – let’s be honest, probably won’t have industrial turbines that are three or four times the height of Mullingar Cathedral on their own doorsteps.
The developers know the harm they are doing. Why else would they be offering money to local groups? How are they able to do that? I myself turned down a donation towards this website last year. Just how much money are they getting from this? Be under no illusions – they don’t care about these communities and they don’t care about you.
And what about the planning process? It costs money to object; the objections must meet very specific criteria and can be rejected on a whim. Meanwhile, the developers can afford the best representation and they already have the government (and the EU) on their side. Are people not angered that these developments are a given for this area on that basis alone? And what will happen in 30-40 years’ time when these sites are decommissioned? Who will clear up the mess? They will have made their money by then and it will be someone else’s problem.
So NOW is the time to ask questions. The first development (Bracklyn) is going ahead, helped in part by COVID restrictions, the bias against communities such as this when dealing with planners, the apathy of “representatives” who live elsewhere and the lack of understanding within the community itself about how these developments could impact on it.
Ask yourself whether this is a suitable location for 43 turbines.
Closing date for observations to An Bord Pleanala regarding the 26 proposed by Bord na Mona is 30th of May 2023. Submissions can now be made online by following the link below using case reference 316212.