Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has accused Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey of talking out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to protecting rural communities from wind turbine projects.
Teachta Brady said:
“This week Deputy Pat Casey issued a statement spouting outrage at an appeal being lodged with An Bord Pleanála by ABO Windfarm LTD for the construction of eleven industrial wind turbines in South Wicklow. I had to read the article twice out of disbelieve at what I was seeing.
“In his outrage, Deputy Casey says that the company involved has “no respect for communities.” I could say the exact same of Deputy Casey and his party.
“Deputy Casey is outraged that this company are ignoring the community’s wishes when Deputy Casey is doing the exact same thing. Today, he and his party voted against Sinn Féin’s Wind Turbine Bill, a Bill they supported back in 2014.
“This Bill aimed to ensure that community consultation was central to the development of wind energy in Ireland. It provided for minimum setback distances along with provisions to protect against noise and shadow flicker and optional co-ownership for local residents. This Bill, if it was supported by Fianna Fáil would have prevented ABO’s application in South Wicklow in the first place.
“Fianna Fáil told us they opposed this Bill as they are awaiting guidelines from the Minister. Guidelines are not legal protections, they are guidelines and there is no legal obligation on anyone to follow them.
“This is typical of Fianna Fáil and their double standards – tell the people on the ground one thing and come in here, where it matters, and vote against the very legislation to protect these people.
“The people of South Wicklow will see through Deputy Casey’s empty words. It is easy to talk about protecting rural communities but when it comes to actually doing something about it, Fianna Fáil do the opposite. Fianna Fáil cannot be trusted. Shame on him and his party.”