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Clare solar plant is referred to watchdog


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A PLANNED €5m solar farm in Co Clare has been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

A unit of French utility giant Engie plans to build the 19MW solar farm, having secured 10-year planning permission for the project in Clarecastle from the local council last month.

There were 19 conditions attached to the planning permission.

A large number of submissions were made the council in relation to the scheme, citing concerns such as flooding, visual amenity, environmental impact and the potential impact on property prices.

Engie told the council that there would be no adverse visual impact, and that the amenity of local properties would not be affected. The site is about 5km south of Ennis.

One objector to An Bord Pleanála has asked for an oral hearing into the project.

He said he is finding the matter "very stressful in view of the future consequences for me and my family".

Earlier this week, the European Commission found that two units of the Engie group received €120m in illegal tax benefits in Luxembourg over a 10-year period and ordered the money to be recovered.

Concluding a state-aid probe into the tax affairs of Engie, the European Commission said on Wednesday that Luxembourg selectively deviated from provisions of national law to help lower the tax bill for France's former natural-gas monopoly, which was then known as GDF Suez.

The tax breaks at issue wre inplemented in 2008 and 2010 and allowed the company to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 0.3pc on certain profits in Luxembourg for about a decade.

Luxembourg has rejected the commission's findings. (Additional reporting Bloomberg)

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