A group of 20 Vicarstown residents were literally left out in the cold as they protested outside the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin, where the annual Irish Wind Energy Association Conference was taking place.
The conference was opened by Minister Pat Rabbitte. Outside in sub zero conditions that at times descended to snowstorms, the peaceful protesters waved signs proclaiming ‘Short term construction, long term destruction’ referring to the plans to build up to 450 massive 185 metre wind turbines across Laois, expected to go to Bord Pleanala for approval.
There was also a bit of gentle ‘Father Ted’ humour, with one sign bearing the legend “down with this sort of thing”.
There was no joking about the worry and anger among locals who made the trip, including Secretary of Laois Wind Energy Awareness, Kevin Scully, who attempted to buy a entry ticket but couldn’t meet the €651 price.
“All the money in that place; the richest people in the country were there, driving in in their Bentleys and Jaguars. All we are doing is looking for information, but no-one is willing to talk to us, ” he said.
An organic farmer in Vicarstown, Mr Scully says he was completely in favour of wind energy until he found out that a turbine may be built in the field behind his house.
“I have four little kids, if that falls, it could fall on our house. It’s my duty to protect my family, ” he said.