The threat of dozens of wind turbines bearing down on the residents of South Wicklow has moved ominously closer with last week’s announcement by ABO Wind and Coillte that Ballymanus Wind Farm Ltd. Intends to press ahead with a full planning application in the coming week.
Representatives of South Wicklow Wind Action Group, the community-based sustainable development organisation, along with a small number of other concerned residents of the target locality, attended a minimally promoted Public Information Meeting in Aughrim at which the project was revealed for the first time. If approved, the development will consist of twelve 150-metre high turbines located in the townlands of Preban, Ballinglen, Askakeagh, Ballymanus, Killaduff and Reddenagh, on both Coillte and privately owned lands.
Maps showing the proposed turbine locations and delineating the areas falling within a distance of 10xturbine-blade length were on display as well as several photo-montages of the visual impact of these 40-storey high towers, located high on the designated hillsides. One particularly striking picture is of a beautiful, recently-built house overwhelmed by the huge size of two machines towering directly behind it. Another shows ten of the turbines clearly visible from the summit of Lugnaquillia, Wicklow’s highest mountain, while others illustrate the impact from the centre of Aughrim, Annacurragh cross-roads and various other points in the affected locality.
A spokesman for South Wicklow Wind Action Group confirmed that the organisation intends to oppose the proposal on several grounds but he declined to elaborate further beyond saying that this is just one part of a bigger plan to surround the Croghan Valley with up to fifty similar electricity-generating machines.
There was a noticable absence of members of the general public in attendance, perhaps explained by the minimal promotion of the event.
In response to a query, an ABO representative confirmed that apart from placing two 4”x3” advertisements in each of two local newspapers, the company had made no attempt to appraise local community organisations such as Aughrim Tidy Towns Committee, Annacurragh Parish Committee, Ballycoog Development Association, local GAA clubs, or any other community organisations in the area, of the event.
Any resident of South Wicklow who feels they may be affected by this development should contact either John O’Driscoll (087 753 9476), Jack Lynch (087 941 7642) or Richard More-O’Ferrrall
(087 753 3003) without delay.