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Community group has concerns over windfarm

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Wind turbines in a windfarm. Stock photo

Wind turbines in a windfarm. Stock photo

Wind turbines in a windfarm. Stock photo

A local community group has raised concerns about plans for a proposed windfarm on the Sligo/Leitrim border.

Wind Aware Dromahair say the construction of Croagh Windfarm, being undertaken by Coillte, will mean the turbines will "totally dominate and alter the local landscape and that of the surrounding area to the extent of being clearly visible right across six counties."

The windfarm is set to take in an area right along the Sligo-Leitrim border incorporating a number of townlands.

In a press release issued last week, the group said that if the "proposal was for an environmentally appropriate, community-based, sustainable project which aligns with the aims and objectives of North Leitrim Sustainable Energy Community and creates long-term employment in this area, it would be wholeheartedly welcomed and supported."

Spokesperson for the group, Adrienne Diamond, stated: "The threatened area is home to several endangered avian and mammalian species including the Annex 1 listed Hen Harrier and Corncrake, as well as bats including the Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Leisler's, Daubenton's and Brown long-eared bats.

Ms Diamond continued: "How can the destruction of native bog and its replacement by thousands of tonnes of concrete and steel be regarded as being environmentally friendly?

"Undisturbed and undrained bog is now universally recognised as a vitally important carbon storage reservoir. Furthermore, this landscape, like Shaas Mountain where a massive mudslide occurred as recently as June this year, is highly vulnerable to landslides, causing huge degradation, pollution and extermination of aquatic life in the many surrounding rivers and streams."

The group say they have garnered significant community support, and held a public meeting last September.

In opposing the planning proposals Coillte have submitted to Sligo and Leitrim County Councils, Wind Aware Dromahair says they are "challenging Coillte".

"We want a green future for Leitrim and Sligo by continuing to cut carbon emissions and by leading the way with imaginative, sustainable, small scale renewable projects that are suited to our sensitive, beautiful landscape and truly create local employment.

"Our small rural community is taking on a giant. We are challenging Coillte, the supposed leaders of the wind energy industry in Ireland. We are fighting to save our health, our homes, our way of life and what remains of our irreplaceable beautiful landscape. This is a local issue, a national issue and above all it is an ethical issue."

Coillte were contacted for comment yesterday (Monday, 17th) but had yet to respond at the time of going to print.

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