Among a number of landowners involved in the application were members of the Healy-Rae family.
Kerry Co Council had refused the 10-year permission for the renewable energy development on three principal grounds, including the possible threat of collision to the eagle, along with visual impact and the need for roads to service the upland site — which is not designated for conservation, and is open for consideration for windfarms.
Objections centred on shadow flicker, noise, and risk to the peatlands, as well as impact on the sea eagle and the red grouse.
The developers, SWS Energy, representing 11 landowners covering several townlands in the Mangerton Ridge area north east of Kilgarvan, appealed the local authority’s decision to An Bord Pleanála. Among the objectors involved are the TD Michael Healy-Rae and his nephew, the county councillor Johnny Healy-Rae.
Three years ago, a sea eagle, introduced into the Killarney National Park in 2008 as part of a five-year programme which saw 100 birds brought here from Norway, died after colliding with a blade in a windfarm at Sillerthane, also near Kilgarvan.
Concerns that the birds would conflict with windfarm development, part of the Government’s national strategy to reach renewable energy targets, were raised at the time.
The planning appeals board has now upheld the council’s refusal and it stated: “Given the relatively recent reintroduction of the white-tailed sea eagle to Ireland, the board is not satisfied that the proposed development would not negatively impact on this formerly native species which is also a species listed in Annex 1 of the Birds Directive, in view of the proximity of the site to areas known to be important roost sites.”
Impact on the scenery of the area was the second major reason for refusal.