Turbines ‘appalling’ says castle owner

Giant Wind Turbines rise behind forestry near Roscrea,
The owner of a 15th century restored Laois castle fears that a wind farm in North Tipperary will irreparably damage her business.

The owner of a 15th century restored Laois castle fears that a wind farm in North Tipperary will irreparably damage her business.

Historian Grace Pym (80) has spent the past quarter of a century carefully restoring Ballaghmore Castle, making it available for paying guests and tourists.

However, she says tourists are telling her they “won’t be bothered coming back” because of the spoiled view.

The castle, which lies between Roscrea and Borris-in-Ossory, was built by the Gaelic Chieftain and Lord of Ossory, MacGiollaphadraig in 1480.

“This castle is a national monument, much more important than Emo Court. From the top you can see for 100 miles, and this wind farm is directly opposite,” she said.

A mile away, and just across the border in north Tipperary, is Monaincha wind farm, with 15 industrial wind turbines on private owned bog land. It went into operation last year.

“Every single tourist that has come is thoroughly disgusted. It is horrendous. They are shocked to the core. It is an appalling view with flashing lights at night,” she said.

Ms Pym says she received no notification during planning stages, nor was told of any public consultations.

“The only sign was a six inch piece of paper stuck behind a hedge,” she said.

She says she made no submission in objection to the planning permission, which was granted by Tipperary County Council in 2009.

The castle owner claims that noise and vibration are stopping people sleeping, and that noise monitors were not installed.

“People are in tears, they can’t sleep and have headaches, there is always a vibration, a deep hum, all the time, a kind of shivering, I am worried about the castle,” she said.

The historian also claims that the structures are causing flooding of Ballaghmore lake.

“Water used to be soaked into the bog, but it is already causing flooding around Monaincha House. We have a 6th century abbey on a little island here, it is a very precious thing, if that floods it will disintegrate,” she said.

She believes the turbines built are not a cost effective form of electricity.

“I know, I’ve gone into it in depth.It is a big cover-up. They are like those things ordered for the Dáil, they are already out of date. Now they are stuck up there and will have to come down after 20 years,” she said.

“I am eighty. This is a huge worry for me, and more of a worry for Ireland,” she said.

She supports the high court review requested by People Over Wind against the approval by An Bord Pleanála of Coillte’s proposed wind farm in Cullenagh.

“I hope they win,” she said.

Tipperary County Council say they will investigate “any valid complaints” about planning for Monaincha windfarm, while saying proper process was followed.

A planning official told the Leinster Express that a valid application was received by North Tipperary County Council in February 2009. “A site notice was adequately displayed”, and a newspaper notice was published in the Irish Independent the same month.

Further information was requested in April 2009, and given by Element Power that September.

“Notification of a decision to grant planning permission issued on 12/11/09. The decision was not appealed to An Bord Pleanala and a final grant of permission issued on 17/12/09,” the council said.