Gneeveguilla residents to fight wind turbine plan

Sliabh Luachra Awareness Group’s Donal Linehan, Mike Fleming, Donal Vaughan, Fred O’Sullivan and Sean O’Rourke at Monday night’s meeting in Gneeveguilla. Photo Sinead Kelleher
Sliabh Luachra Awareness Group’s Donal Linehan, Mike Fleming, Donal Vaughan, Fred O’Sullivan and Sean O’Rourke at Monday night’s meeting in Gneeveguilla. Photo Sinead Kelleher

Sinead Kelleher

The community of Gneeveguilla is "under siege" following a decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant planning for 12 turbines, which will be higher than the Spire in Dublin and Killarney Cathedral when completed.

The decision last week by the national planning authority has shocked and angered the local community, and almost 150 local residents attended a public meeting at the community hall on Monday night, where they decided to take their battle against the planned windfarm to the High Court for a judicial review.

This legal battle will cost the local community €120,000 and they will have to fund-raise this money as soon as possible to pay for a legal team to fight on their behalf.

Chairman of Sliabh Luachra Wind Awareness Group, Fred O'Sullivan who chaired the meeting, said "the seriousness of this is beyond words."

"We are under siege," he said.

"These will be the tallest man-made structures in the country," continued Mr O'Sullivan.

"Going to the High Court is like backing a horse we could win or lose," said Mr O'Sullivan but he said the community must "fight" to block the development.

Planning had been refused by Kerry County Council for the 14 turbines over seven townlands between Gneeveguilla and Ballydesmond. However, last week An Bord Pleanála granted permission in a move that has angered the local community - many of whom are completely against the windfarm which will be close to a number of local homes.

Concerns were raised at the meeting about the shadow flicker from the turbines and the meeting heard from residents living close to Gneeveguilla who claim that their lives have been destroyed by other such developments. Concerns were also raised about families living in the area whose children have autism or epilepsy. It was claimed that they will have to move because of the effects of the windfarm. Concerns about the noise were also raised.

Deputy Danny Healy Rae came under fire at the meeting when he was quizzed about his subcontracting contracts on other windfarms in the county. He said that he was working on one in Kilgarvan and that he had previously worked on another one.

"You are talking out both sides of your mouth," said Mr O'Sullivan.


It is a warzone in my yard. our home has become a hell

Caroline Cooke and her family who live in Barna in Scartaglin, where there are 56 wind turbines, told the public meeting that their life has been destroyed by the development.

"We didn't know the full impact but now we do. We cannot sleep night in, night out. It is a constant throbbing. It is like living in a warzone. Our home has become a hell," she said.

The shadow flicker and noise are the main issues. She warned the community to fight tooth and nail to prevent the windfarm going ahead and to prevent their lives becoming the nightmare she now lives daily.

JJ O'Carroll, who lives 12 miles from Gneeveguilla, said his life has also been destroyed by the turbines around his house.

"We are the victims of the wind energy cartel," he said.

"We love it there and it is our home."

He said that his daily life has been blighted by noise from the turbines and that noise surveys do not pick up the sound from the turbines.

"The sound goes through the house," he said. Mr O'Carroll told the community to fight back.

Local man, Sean O'Rourke, whose home will be close to the new development, said he is "terrified" of the future.

"My house is right in the middle. All I am thinking is what is going to happen."