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Letters on the subject of windfarms

THE Clare Champion has received a huge amount of correspondence on the theme of windfarms this week. Here is a sample of some of the letters.

Windfarm woes
Sir,
I was horrified to discover Slievecurry Ltd intend to erect eight 175 metre turbines in the Miltown Malbay/Moy area, some of which are directly across from our home. They say there was widespread consultation with the local community this is simply untrue as the first we learned about it was reading a planning notice that appeared in your paper The Clare Champion.

Toureen is a lovely rural community overlooked by beautiful Mount Callan. Erecting eight 175 metre turbines would totally dominate the landscape. The resulting noise would destroy the peace and tranquility enjoyed by generations. No regard has been given to the health/mental health and wellbeing of those living adjacent to these monsters.

The disruption caused to the wildlife and biodiversity of the mountain and the bog by the construction/running and maintenance of the turbines is totally at odds with the conservation of the countryside.

One wonders what the county plan is for Clare as there seems to be no limitation to the number of turbines allowed to spoil our beautiful county.

Regards,
Trevor Skerritt.
Toureen, Miltown Malbay

Beautiful landscape
Sir,
I live in Toureen, Miltown Malbay. I am very disappointed with the prospect of the huge amount of very big turbines begin put up in this beautiful landscape. We have here the views of the mountains is fantastic. We have always been asked to respect our natural environment. When I was building my house here in Toureen I wanted dormer windows in my house and I was refused because ‘they wouldn’t fit in to the sky line’, however, the big investors can just decide to put their money into turbines wherever they want and to hell with the small people. Everyone knows that the turbines would be far more effective out at sea. They will destroy the whole west of Ireland with them. They don’t have to live with them.
Regards,
Martin Skerritt,
Toureen, Miltown Malbay.

A worried teen

Sir,

My name is Fina, I am 16-years-old and living on a farm in West Clare. I grew up on our family farm all my life and loved every bit of it. From the fields and meadows, turning the turf in the bog with my Dad, the horses and cattle grazing, the sheep, goats, and the chicken pecking around our home.

This farm has been in my family for generations going back to at least the great Irish famine. This farm is a very special place for me and I would love to keep it running and join my great family and keep the legacy going.

My farm and my home is getting effected by something that has decided to pop up all over Clare. Something that doesn’t care about myself or the wider community. They don’t listen to the small farmer who nurtures their field. They don’t seem to care about biodiversity and allow bog slides to happen. They create risks and destroy the little bit of nature and clean waterways we have left. I am talking about the massive 170 metre turbines or in my words – windmills.
My dream is to one day run a stud for horses to maybe keep some stallions and mares and also to compete with horses. I have loved horses since the day I was born. I know I am young, it seems I am just starting my career and following my heart. Now I am very worried that this won’t happen as turbines are meant to have a bad effect on horses.
Not being able to breed, making horses spook, even the risk of having them exposed to getting Wind Turbine Syndrome. We live in a very boggy place so these windmills will travel underneath us in waves and what effect does that have?

The low frequency noise and vibration is worrying for people, but my horses will be out on the land as near as 500 metres, what effect will that have on such a super sensitive animal? I don’t know, we are given so little information that it is hard to know. Just because energy production has become a multimillion making business for some, but are we here going to pay the price? Stop and think for a minute, do we want this all over County Clare or do we just not care and see our country to be destroyed?

There are not many places to have some recreation around Clare. You have to walk on the roads for a bit of exercise here, but how safe is that if cars are going at ridiculous speeds? If we are walking we nearly get driven into the hedge or ditch, so what you think happens when I am on my horse? I try to be as safe as I can, but I have to exercise my horses and the tracks in the proposed site of Cahermurphy II Wind Farm. This is the best place were my horses can gallop and not put anyone in danger.

I enjoy the views and they can loosen themselves up maybe have a nibble of grass on the way, but it is safe there. No traffic there and lovely nature for walking, cycling and horse riding. On the road that’s not possible nearly. These windmills are going to take up all this beautiful forest and bog which I have been going since I was very young. I am pushed out onto the road making me put myself in danger which isn’t something I want to be in the age of 16.

How am I going to make a living from the farm with ten industrial 170 metres high wind turbines looming like noisy monsters with three massive wings over our land? I can forget about tourism as extra income to our farm as no tourist wants to spend their holidays beside these. Maybe I can forget about my horses as this will drive them crazy. I am a young person wanting to continue my life in Ireland. How is this going help my future here?
Regards,
Fina O’Dea
Cahercullan, Creegh, Kilrush

Development issues
Sir,
We live in Clohanmore, Cree – within approximately 700 metres of the proposed Cahermurphy 2 Windfarm. We as a family, are completely gutted that this Windfarm of 10 industrial turbines – 170 metres in height – are even being considered for construction in this area. It is not a suitable location, as proven by the recent bog slide in Donegal – where these turbines are proposed to be built is a carbon copy of the terrain in Meenbog Bog – Sitka spruce trees and sphagnum moss.

It is so unfair that County Clare has so many proposed and built industrial windfarm developments. All applied for or built under the old regulations. It is vital that the regulations are amended ASAP to take into consideration the excessive height and power output, of the new generation of wind turbines.

We are very proud of our county, and very proud of being on the Wild Atlantic Way and these turbines will have a detrimental effect on tourism in our area, not to mention that it will affect keeping our younger generation in the area and keeping West Clare alive and it has been proven that these turbines will also affect WIFI and TV signal.
NB It is unimaginable that there is no one in the whole of Clare County Council accountable for compliance when/if turbines are built. What are people to do? With noise – shadow flicker – impact on local ecological system. Who helps us?

The developer of this proposed Windfarm (Cahermurphy 2), did not contact or call on us or many of our neighbours, as a result we heard of the development by accident. They used the current Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse. We have been totally kept in the dark.

We also are very concerned about our local rivers (Cree river and Annageragh river) and our local drinking water supply for all of west Clare, coming from Doolough lake, all of which are flowing through or close by the proposed Windfarm site. Depreciation on the value of our property, is also a huge concern.

In order to get planning permission in our area, or any area, to build a home, the Clare County Council will make you jump through hoops, and make sure you don’t interfere with the skyline – and in the meantime they give permission to build several 170m high wind turbines. I just don’t understand it.

We are absolutely distraught. These turbines should be put offshore. We are not against green energy – but at what price.
Regards,
Marion, Gerry and Shane O’Malley

Planning concerns

Sir,
I would like to applaud The Clare Champion for its reporting of the issues and concerns surrounding the development of windfarms in Clare and further afield including your report of November 6 on the planning application for Cahermurphy2 windfarm.
The generation of clean energy for the country is important, but how and where the required industrial turbines are sited is equally important.
Clare is heavily dependant on tourism, its landscape and natural amenities are vital to the economy of the county as well as to the people who live in Clare.
Huge industrial turbines are scattered randomly all over the countryside with planning applications for more and higher turbines going through the process at present. Areas that are identified by the County Council for development are being used by investors for huge turbines that are out of place in the landscape, do not provide long-term jobs for the area and damage the surroundings and amenities for local residents. Anyone who lives within walking distance of wind turbines can attest to the desolation that surrounds them.
It is only through good reporting that we learn of the environmental damage that has been caused by the bog slide incident in Meenbog, Donegal, and the problems closer to home at Derrybrien Windfarm in South Galway where the State i.e the taxpayer is paying penalties of €15,000 a day (currently over €10.5 million) because it was discovered that “proper environmental standards were not observed”. Are developers being held to account for these failings or do they just build and move on leaving any issues that arise in future to be sorted out by others?
Please continue to report on issues around windfarm developments in Clare so that your readers will have an understanding of how these developments affect them and their futures.
Regards,
B & D Eastham

Enough is enough

Sir,
As presented in four articles in The Clare Champion last week, there are planning applications already in or going in before Christmas for four major windfarms in County Clare.

West Clare is already saturated with industrial wind turbines, allowed to be erected far too close to homes. This has caused enormous distress and division amongst communities. Vast amounts of bog, which is a natural carbon sink, are being ripped up and filled with concrete. 80 plus loads of concrete are used in the base of one turbine. There is no independent monitoring of the turbines that have already been erected, and people are suffering from constant noise and flicker, with no one to turn to for help. No one is protecting residents. These planning applications are being reviewed based on out of date, not fit for purpose guidelines. Someone needs to put a stop to any new developments before the countryside is destroyed and there is any more damage to our communities. Enough is enough.

Regards,
Kathleen Connelly
Coore, Miltown Malbay

Windfarms not welcome

Sir,
We are just writing with regard to the influx of windfarms in Clare. We noticed in the recent issue of The Clare Champion that there are four articles in relation to windfarms in Clare, two of which have not actually gone in for planning yet. Does this not say something about what is happening to our county? It is being destroyed for the select few who will benefit.
We are living very close to the proposed windfarm by Slieveacurry. It is a disgrace that planning is being sought for this in a highly populated area of young families in new houses, elderly people who have lived here all their lives and with schools etc in the vicinity of it. And all in the middle of a global pandemic, in level 5 restrictions which doesn’t allow non essential movement beyond 5km but which doesn’t seem to hinder the developers calling to people’s houses etc with incentives for people not to object to them!
We ourselves are parents to a teenager with special needs and sensory issues. It is a huge worry to us about how this will affect him and the place that he calls home. These turbines will take away his safe place and we will do anything to save that. It is the people living near these monsters that will suffer again, we can already see and hear the Mount Callan windfarm which is a lot farther away and the turbines are smaller. These proposed ones will be 175 metres. That is crazy.
The developer states in their application that they called to every house within 1.5 km, this is not true, as stated by people who live as close as 800 metres from them. The residents will suffer greatly. It is also a disgrace that there is no independent body in place in charge of compliance of these with regard to noise, shadow flicker etc. This needs to be seriously looked at.
Regards,
Patrick and Laura MacMahon,
Ballinoe, Miltown Malbay

Peace and quiet

Sir,

We write to your paper with reference to your recent articles on the different windfarm developments proposed for West Clare. As residents of one of the affected areas we wanted to highlight the impact these developments will have on us and the environmental impact on our area.

We choose to live in rural West Clare because of its beauty, peace and quiet.

As residents who will be within one kilometre of these industrial turbines, we are very concerned about noise pollution and shadow flicker. These issues are very real and have been experienced and well documented by people living in close proximity to other windfarm developments.

We question how it can be fair that developments such as this are imposed on rural areas and their inhabitants with little or no consultation. Another concern for us is the devaluation of our property due the close proximity of the proposed windfarm.

While it may be argued by some parties that windfarms have no effect on property values we remain to be convinced that any potential buyer would willingly purchase a property close to industrial sized turbines.

Developments, such as the two most recent windfarms proposed for West Clare, will accelerate depopulation in rural areas. Young couples and families interested in returning to the area may be put off the idea as it would mean building houses which would be impacted by the very visible presence of 170 metre high turbines, shadow flicker and noise pollution.

Our local area is rich in biodiversity with many protected species of birds and mammals living in the vicinity. The construction of a windfarm will irreversibly destroy their habitats and put protected species under increased pressure.

Anyone driving along the roads of West Clare cannot help but notice the ever increasing number of turbines visible from miles away against the skyline. As West Clare depends heavily on tourism, such turbines are an eyesore on a beautiful, natural landscape.

We ask, when is enough, enough? How many more turbines will scar the skyline, destroy biodiversity and impact negatively on the quality of life for those living in close proximity to windfarms?

These are issues that seem to be disregarded in the race to get as many turbines up as quickly as possible at the expense of the people who will be left to live in their shadow for years to come.

Regards,
Rose Marie and Gerry Ryan,
Clohanmore, Cree, Kilrush

A Dutch view

Sir,
I left Holland 25 years ago and bought a small farm in the West of Clare. I never was one bit sorry, Lady Luck sat on my shoulders the whole way long. I got the best of neighbours, bought a donkey, some sheep and goats. Life is easy-going in the countryside, the landscapes and nature are fantastic, the Clare people friendly and welcoming.

Whenever asked why I had made the move, the best way to explain was to compare my country with the size of Munster, imagined with a population of 18 million. I married my neighbour, we had had children, and our daughter looks forward to continue our farm, which is at least five generations in the O’Dea family.

We all were shocked to hear about the proposed planning of Cahermurphy II windfarm. We are relieved to realise we are not alone and the amount and strength of local opposition is encouraging. This will have a serious negative effect on our own lives, health, living enjoyment, devaluation of land and house.

Even though I am well settled in by now, I would like to compare how the continuing applications and increasing number of windfarms would affect County Clare through the eyes of myself as a Dutch person.

There is an enormous amount of love for Ireland in Europe. The green image, beautiful coastline, low population, friendly people, unspoilt landscape. Thanks to the weather and more isolated position Ireland never got destroyed by building booms of hotels and apartment blocks around the coast for mass tourism.

Anybody gone on a cheap flight to Spain for a sun holidays knows what I mean. Increasingly there is a market for people who are looking for what Ireland has to offer. We cannot make the same mistakes here. The beautiful views, the quiet countryside, green fields with cattle and sheep, the last bogs in Europe. We have tourists from USA and Europe visiting our farm.

They rave about the peace and quiet, they will not be charmed by industrial wind turbines in the background of their holiday shots. Considering statistics of 2020 in Holland more than 90% live in urban areas, Europe 75% and USA 80%. Ireland is still relatively low with 63%.

The value of recreation and tourism is not only measured in the economics, the benefits on people’s health and well-being, decreasing anxiety and depression is well proven. To sacrifice one of our most amazing assets in Ireland to industrial windfarm developments will have dire consequences long-term, for our bio-diversity, tourism and recreation and will contribute to degradation of rural living and communities.

So I do wonder, is it worth it? Is it fair that a few farmers will disproportional benefit while the majority of residents will see mostly negative effects? Is it right that development companies often from abroad turn energy production into a millions worth profit business? Is it worth damaging our beautiful and threatened bog landscape and bio-diversity and why is protection of nature not the highest priority for Coillte? Is it right to have such an enormous amount of higher and higher turbines in this area for the coming decades, while the technology is rapidly moving towards off-shore developments?

Is it worth the damage and the disruption for residents? Is it right we all pay €88,80 in our electricity bill to support the renewable energy sector? So I really wonder, is it worth it in the long-term for the people in County Clare?
Regards,
Brigitte Sikkes-O’Dea, Cahercullen, Creegh, Kilrush

Surrounded by turbines

Dear Editor,
The nightmare of windturbines beside me, is going from bad to unbearable. I have already three industrial size windturbines within a kilometre of my home. This new development of 10 more turbines within a kilometre of my home will have a devastating effect on my quality of life.
I built my home in this area, because of the peace and quite, all this has been destroyed because of the constant noise, shadow flicker, and are very invasive, because of the sheer size of these windturbines. There is a place for these windturbines, but certainly not near people’s homes.
Regards,
Irene Murphy, Cahermurphy

Outdated regulations

Sir,

We are very alarmed at the rush of windfarm applications in the West Clare area recently. It seems to be a national policy that wind energy is the only way to reduce our emissions and our over-reliance on fossil fuels, and these developments are being foisted on rural communities regardless of the negative effects on the lives of the people living in these areas.

These recent developments are being rushed through planning without proper consultation with local residents. There are also huge environmental questions to be asked as regards the citing of these windfarms.

In Meenbog in County Donegal we hear of peat slippage caused by roads constructed through trees to get the turbines into the bog which has resulted in a huge ecological disaster. Derrybrien is another example where the State has failed to ensure that EIA (environmental impact assessment) for the windfarm was carried out – a landslide in 2003 caused severe damage to local river systems and another ecological disaster.

We are awaiting the long overdue Revised Wind Energy Development Guidelines to be published. Present windfarm developments are working off the 2006 wind energy guidelines which are not fit for purpose considering we are now dealing with industrial sized turbines of 170 metres or so. It is imperative that decisions on wind farm planning applications are governed by the new guidelines. We hope the relevant planning authorities will act in accordance with this.

Regards,
Yvonne Conway

At what cost?

Sir,

I refer to four articles printed in The Clare Champion on Thursday, November 26, regarding planning applications for windfarms in Cahermurphy, Miltown Malbay and Carrownagowan. These industrial sized wind turbines will impact negatively on people living in these rural communities due to shadow flicker, noise and their visual impact on the landscape.

Despite what has been claimed by developers, there has been little consultation with local communities at the design and pre-planning stages. This has been reflected in the numerous submissions made by residents of these areas to the council. We have seen in recent weeks the devastating impact the construction of Meenbog windfarm has had on the local environment in County Donegal. Rural communities are being sacrificed to achieve wind energy targets, but at what cost?

Regards,
John Killeen,
Clohanmore, Cree, Kilrush

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