Protest groups convene to discuss wind turbine plans

The Slieve Bloom Wind Turbine Awareness Group (SWAG) and Laois Wind Energy Awareness Group (LWEAG) met with MEP Mairead McGuinness recently, to discuss concerns about the plans to erect thousands of industrial turbines across the Midlands.

The Slieve Bloom Wind Turbine Awareness Group (SWAG) and Laois Wind Energy Awareness Group (LWEAG) met with MEP Mairead McGuinness recently, to discuss concerns about the plans to erect thousands of industrial turbines across the Midlands.

Paula Poole, of SWAG, outlined her concern at finding out about plans to erect eight industrial turbines at the front of her home.

Charles Gordon echoed Paula’s concerns, saying he also purchased a site at a premium from a local landowner only to find out that the same landowner had signed an option without one word of consultation. Mr Gordon mentioned a couple from Roscommon, who have now been forcibly evicted from the home by the noise from the turbines they have sustained for the past two years.

Ray Conroy (LWEAG) said that the division in the community in the Vicarstown/Ballybrittas area was possibly the worst outcome to date where neighbours, family and friends are falling out over these proposals. SWAG felt that a similar situation was building up in their community and that this will have long-term consequences for their very small and intimate area.

Others spoke about how these companies have made promises to local sporting organizations such as the GAA club as a means of buying their support for such projects, while some expressed their concern at the potential destruction of the environment and landscape.

Ms McGuinness admitted that she is not an expert on wind farms but in principle would support both European and national policies that seek to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. She did however express concern when she heard first hand of the tactics being employed by the energy company.