Fears that wind farms could ‘desecrate the Hills of Donegal’

Big business must not be allowed to ‘desecrate the Hills of Donegal’ through the erection of wind farms and telecommunication masts, a councillor has warned.

Big business must not be allowed to ‘desecrate the Hills of Donegal’ through the erection of wind farms and telecommunication masts, a councillor has warned.

Fine Gael councillor Bernard McGuinness made the comments at Tuesday’s meeting of the county council where he raised concerns about the sharp increase in wind farms and telecommunication mast developments in the county.

“I am not against wind farm developments, provided they are in the right place,” he said. “There is a lot of concern about a proposed wind farm in Glenties. Tourists are not happy with some of the developments. There is big money at play here and the dangers that go with it,” he said.

“This will have a profound affect on tourism for generations to come. The recession will not last forever - but I don’t want us going mad putting wind turbines all over the county. We can not allow big business to desecrate the Hills of Donegal,” he added.

He was discussing a motion from Sinn Féin Cllr Jack Murray that planning notices in a national newspaper should also appear in local newspapers.

Speaking at Tuesday’s council meeting, Cllr Murray, said the approved local newspaper should be one of the three most widely circulated in the electoral area of the proposed development.

“Very few local people look at the planning notices in national newspapers,” He said. “The legislation allows large companies to comply with the law but not with the spirit of the law.”

Cllr McGuinness proposed the council have a workshop on the issue of various type of developments such as wind farms and telecommunication mast.

Councillors also called for a landscape suitability report to be carried out in the county.

Labour councillor Frank McBrearty said the ‘Diver and Shovlin’ families in Ardara had suffered by a mast which was installed at the rear of their house.

“The local newspaper is the number one source for their information on what is happening in their area,” he said. “There is a case for wind energy but there is the negative side to it as well. There needs to be a full debate and we as a local authority need to accommodate that forum.

“I don’t always get on with local newspapers - I don’t always get on with national newspapers but they employ local people. Any business going for planning should have to advertise in the local newspaper. I think a business advertising a planning notice in the national newspaper must have something to hide,” he said.

Fianna Fáil Cllr Seamus O’Domhnaill said the issue need to be reviewed as Donegal had up to 15 newspapers.

“I think it is worrying when it appears to be easier to get planning for a wind-farm than a house,” he warned.

Independent Councillor Ian McGarvey said he would never support a wind-farm near somebody’s house.

“An Bord Pleanála is taking control of planning in this county. There is big money business at play here and it is about selling these wind farms down the road,” he said.