Opposition to a controversial wind farm near Gougane Barra raised in the Dáil

“You cannot make another Gougane Barra but you can find other locations for a wind farm.”

Opposition to a controversial 7-turbine wind farm was raised in the Dáil yesterday evening, after An Bord Pleanála overturned a refusal to grant planning permission on the historic site.

Last week, An Bord Pleanála overturned Cork County Councils planning refusal for Wingleaf Ltd to construct a seven-turbine wind farm back in 2020. The wind farm is to be erected at Curraglass, which is less than 2km Gougane’s St Finbarr’s Oratory and will dominate the skyline at the scenic location.

Aindrias Moynihan, Cork North-West TD told the Dáil yesterday that locals have been taken very much by surprise by this decision.

“The Council’s planner said that the plan would materially contravene the objectives of the country development plan and provide a highly intrusive, visually domineering form of development that debases the integrity and the landscape character.”

“You cannot make another Gougane Barra but you can find other locations for a wind farm,” Moynihan argued.

Aerial view of Gougane Barra (via Jason Miller Flickr)

In response to this statement, Minister of State for Local Government and Planning Peter Burke said it’s not his job to comment on specific planning permissions, and that it “is a matter for the planning authorities and for the board in relation to planning appeals and strategic infrastructure development.”

“Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage is specifically precluded from exercising power or control in relation to any particular case by which the planning authority or An Bord Pleanála may be concerned”.

Moynihan went on to mention how Ireland has set an increased goal under the Revised Action Climate Plan which would see up to 80% of our electricity to come from renewable energy by 2030. As of now, the wind farm has the green light.

A community appeal has since been made for €3,000 to fund an initial review. If there are enough grounds to go ahead with the judicial review, the local community will have to raise approximately €100k through crowd funding to bring this to the High Court.

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