Minister for Children Charlie Flanagan was among the 155 who made submissions against Cullenagh windfarm, and is again asking Coillte to await new guidelines before proceeding further.
“The decision by An Bord Pleanala is disappointing for all concerned given the strong appeals made by the local community,” said the Fine Gael Minister.
“I would ask that Coillte reflect upon the revised guidelines on wind turbines, which I expect to be published in the autumn, when considering the future viability of this project,” he said.
He is asking the semi-state company to again consult to the local community.
“It is imperative that Coillte engage fully with the local community at the earliest opportunity as the concerns that people had at the start of this process have not dissipated,” he said.
Dep Brian Stanley, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson said their decision is “very disappointing”.
“Planning permission for these monster structures was refused by Laois County Council last October and I made an objection to the construction of these giant turbines to LCC during the planning process,” he said.
Dep Stanley said the 18 turbines will “dominate” the landscape south of Portlaoise.
“They will be located in scenic areas and will dominate the landscape,” he said, calling for speed on the new regulations.
“It highlights the urgent need for the introduction of statutory Regulations for wind farm developments to replace the current weak guidelines which are not enforceable.” said Dep Stanley.
He is seeking cross party Dáil support for Sinn Féin’s Wind Turbine Regulation Bill, now ready to go to stage three.
Fine Gael Cllr Mary Sweeney from Ballyroan had also objected to the windfarm.
“Wind turbines constructed close to the homes of local residents would have a significant impact on their quality of life. The beauty of Cullenagh mountain and its surrounds has always been a recognised feature of the village of Ballyroan. I still remain concerned that wind turbines will have a detrimental effect,” she said.
She is critical of An Bord Pleanála’s decision.
“This decision has been made without full consideration to the revised guidelines. I am also concerned that the board made the decision against the recommendations of its own inspector. I am seeking an early meeting to ascertain whether Coillte intend to proceed and to ensure they engage with the local community who have real and genuine concerns,” she said.