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Children who 'were made ill by wind farm near their home' get €225,000

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Health threat?: The family said they suffered health issues related to the wind farm. Stock picture

Health threat?: The family said they suffered health issues related to the wind farm. Stock picture

Health threat?: The family said they suffered health issues related to the wind farm. Stock picture

Three children who allegedly became ill and had to move out of their family home as a result of disturbance from a nearby wind farm have secured a total €225,000 as settlement of their High Court damages claims.

The settlements were made to Laura (15), David (17) and Jack (10) Kelleher, without admission of liability.

It was claimed they, along with their parents, had to leave their family home at Gowlane North, Donoughmore, Co Cork, in late 2016, several months after a 10-turbine wind farm went into operation.

They claimed the noise, vibrations and shadow flicker from the turbines, just over 700 metres from their family farm, resulted in them suffering various illnesses.

These included nosebleeds, ear aches, skin rashes, swollen and painful hands, loss of power in their limbs, sleep disturbance and headaches.

Through their father, Valentine Kelleher, the three children sued Green Energy Supply Ltd, which owns and operates a wind turbine installation known as Knockduff Wind Farm in Co Cork.

The actions were also against company director Michael Murnane of Gortyleahy, Macroom, who is the owner of Green Energy Supply.

The defendants had denied all the claims. The case yesterday came before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds, who was told by John Rogers SC, for the Kellehers, the case had been settled.

Counsel said as well as liability not being admitted, medical evidence submitted in support of the Kellehers' claim was fully contested. In their action, the Kellehers sought damages for alleged nuisance and personal injury which they claimed was due to the defendants' failure to take sufficient precautions to avoid noise, vibration and shadow flicker from the wind farm.

It was further alleged the defendants failed to operate the wind farm in a manner to avoid causing unreasonable levels of noise, vibrations and shadow flicker. They claimed the defendants did not pay any heed to the complaints.

They claimed the wind farm was operated in a manner that did not respect their constitutional family, personal and property rights.

They claimed they started experiencing health problems in and around their family farm from May 2016 and had to move out November 2016.

After spending some time in a hotel, the family has relocated to a property at Ballyglass, Grenagh, Co Cork, 12km away from their farm. They claimed their symptoms eased after they moved away, but returned if they spent any time on the family farm.

The defendants, in denying the claims, said the wind farm was operated in a lawful manner. Mr Rogers said the settlement arose following mediation between the parties conducted by retired Judge Paul Gilligan.

Laura, whose ailments were more severe compared with her brothers, will receive €125,000. David and Jack will receive €50,000 each.

Other separate but related claims brought by other members of the Kelleher family for alleged nuisance remain outstanding, but he was hopeful that they would be resolved.

Those cases were adjourned to next month.

Irish Independent