Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has written to the Minister for Planning, Eoghan Murphy, asking him to provide assurances to communities in the vicinity of a proposed wind farm at Croagh, Co Leitrim that their concerns will be listened to.
Carthy contacted the Minister following a meeting he held with local residents recently where they raised concerns regarding the manner in which Coillte is proposing to develop a commercial scale wind farm located on the northeastern slopes of Carrane Hill, Garvagh, Killavoggy.
Speaking this week Carthy said: “Everyone accepts that there is a need to develop renewal energy. But, the manner in which Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments have pursued this objective has been sloppy and haphazard. They have allowed the agenda to be dictated by private corporations while sometimes state companies have been used to facilitate these multinationals. All the while local communities have been ignored and the model which works best internationally, of public and community ownership of the process, has been disregarded in place of a process where local communities are essentially side-lined from the entire process.
“When I joined Deputy Martin Kenny TD and Cllr Padraig Fallon to meet with residents concerned with the Croagh proposal I was surprised to learn that the planned wind turbines are significantly larger than the conventional types, many of which are already in place in this area. Specifically, concerns have been raised with us regarding the close proximity to heritage bog land areas, and the threats posed to species such as the Hen Harrier and Corncrake, which attract bird watchers from Ireland and beyond and which are endangered species.
“The residents we met with are also frustrated with what they consider the lack of genuine consultation embarked by Coillte which is, of course, a state-owned company.
“Considering the genuine fears that have been expressed regarding the general well-being of the community and the potential impact of this development on homes, wildlife, habitats, bogs and waterways I have written to Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government requesting that he provide assurances that the concerns of local communities will be taken into consideration before any planning is granted as to the proposal for the Croagh Wind Farm.
“If renewable energy targets are to be met then communities must have ownership of the process, they will not tolerate being ignored”.