Residents oppose wind farm over noise concerns

WIND FARM WOES . . . Opponents to the wind far at Clonfert pictured with Cllr. Donal Burke (from left) Lily McDonagh, Greg McDonagh, Joe McDonagh, Cllr Burke and Jarlath Mc Evoy. The proposed wind farm would be located in the field behind where they are standing. Photo: Gerry Stronge.

Residents in East Galway are up in arms over plans to provide wind turbines – allegedly almost 50 metres higher than O’Connell Street’s Spire – in their locality.

One family said that the wind farm near Clonfert would result in constant noise, flickering as well as destroying their views. The turbines, they say, would also interfere with their internet coverage.

The planning application is for a ten-year permission to construct a wind farm at Lisbeg in Clonfert.

The plans involve the construction of five wind turbines, a 100m meteorological mast, an electrical substation, a control building and an underground cable connection to the national grid.

This cable would be running along the existing roads from the site, through the townlands of Coolcarta West, Caltragh, Fynagh, Moneenaheeltia, Killevny, Ballyhoose and Oghil More.

From there it would go through the main street of the village of Lawrencetown and on through the townlands of Oghil Beg, Belview, Crowsnest, Graveshill, Barnaboy, Coolbeg to an existing ESB substation in the Clontuskert townland of Somerset – a distance of approximately 8.6 km.

The applicants are Frank Ó Domhnaill and Richard Bourns; the latter is providing the site on his farm at Lisbeg.

The application was submitted to Galway County Council on December 21 and a decision is due at the end of February.

Cllr Donal Burke said that a number of local people contacted him and they expressed concern about the development and the impact it would have locally.

“The area around Clonfert is low-lying and is classified as a low wind speed area. The proposed turbines would be among the tallest in the country to date, with a maximum overall blade tip height of 169 metres and residents have concerns about the effect of these on families living nearby and on the landscape,” Cllr Burke added.

The Fianna Fail councillor said that, to put it into perspective, the turbines would be 47 metres higher than the Spire on Dublin’s O’Connell Street.

He added that among the issues raised were possible long term health effects on those living in close proximity to such high turbines, including the effects of shadow flicker on the occupants of nearby houses

Cllr Burke said that there was also mention of potential noise pollution, residential amenity and the location of the turbines so close to Clonfert Cathedral, a significant tourist destination and a world heritage site.

Members of the local McDonagh family have already made a submission to Galway County Council outlining their opposition to the wind farm.