Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary is involved in a planning row over a windfarm near land he owns in Westmeath.
Gaeltech Energy Services proposes a windfarm to service 46,900 households but, at 180m, the turbines would be among the largest in the country. Unlike many opposed to wind farms, Mr O’Leary has the resources to mount a successful challenge. It does though seem bizarre that this issue is still being debated. Surely, all wind farm, each heavily subsidised by the Government, should be at sea?
The “peat slippage” involving thousands of tonnes of bog at Meenbog in Donegal adds to that argument. It is indicative of the industry’s hubris that just days after that catastrophe locals got a letter from the same company detailing plans to build another wind farm nearby. Work at the site, which is to supply energy to job-eating Amazon centres, is suspended.
But there’s more. The State has incurred fines of €10.5m and counting, over a windfarm in Galway. The penalties relate to an ESB-owned development in Derrybrien and increase by €15,000 a day the situation remains unresolved.
If we had no alternative to on-shore sites this might be tolerable. However, our west coast does not have any offshore windfarms and there is only one off the east coast. It has seven turbines. This potential must be realised before any more communities are asked to accept windfarms. Communities, like it or not, deserve priority over investors.