Galway windfarm saga for Supreme Court 11 years after landslide

Works at Derrybrien after the massive landslide eleven years ago.

A SUPREME Court appeal in relation to the controversial Derrybrien Windfarm project is to be heard in Dublin today (Thursday), exactly eleven years to the day that the massive landslide began on the South Galway hillside.

The 70 turbine project, up and running for the past nine years, caused consternation in the South Galway area after a massive landslide occurred between October 16, 2003 and November of that year, following construction work on the hillside.

Members of the local Derrybrien community blamed deforestation and construction work on the hill – associated with the windfarm project – for the massive landslide affecting 70 acres of land.

Back in 2005, the Derrybrien Development Association sought, but were refused, a High Court injunction seeking to restrain Saorgus Energy Ltd., Coillte Teoranta and Gort Wind Farms Ltd. from continuing on with the windfarm project.

In that ruling, Ms. Justice Dunne stated that she wasn’t satisfied that the applicants [the local Derrybrien group] had made the case that the deforestation of lands at Derrybrien was an unauthorised development.

“I have no doubt that but for the catastrophic events of October 16, 2003, these proceedings would not have commenced. The concerns of the applicants are understandable but it is to be expected that the steps taken by the respondents [the windfarm developers] will ensure that there will not be a recurrence,” said Ms. Justice Dunne.

According to Martin Collins of the Derrybrien Development Society, today’s Supreme Court appeal came in the wake of a decision from the European Court of Justice in 2008 following proceedings brought by the Directorate General of the EU Environment Commission.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.