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Connacht Tribune

Wind farm plan rejected over environmental concerns

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Residents in East Galway have won their battle to prevent a wind farm in their area after the development was turned down – on environmental grounds and in particular the potential impact it would have on local rivers as well as wildlife in the area.

It was claimed that the five-turbine wind farm would be taller than The Spire in O’Connell Street and would have an adverse impact on the Brown Long-eared Bats which roost in the area during the maternity process while it is also a location as a Barn Owl nest site

When planning permission was granted by Galway County Council for the wind farm near Eyrecourt, there was uproar amongst local residents who came together to appeal this decision. Their appeal has now been successful.

It was proposed to provide a wind farm in the townlands of Lisbeg, Coolcarta East, Annaghcorrib and Coolcarta West.

The wind farm would have five turbines and the developers undertook to upgrade local roads.

While county planners granted permission for the wind farm to the applicants Fran O Domhnaill and Richard Bourns, the application had been subject to 40 submissions, mainly from local residents, who voiced their against the development.

They had raised concerns in relation to noise, visual impact, shadow flicker, health, traffic implications, the impact it would have on wildlife and local rivers while they also argued that it would devalue property in the locality and have an impact on tourism.

The applicants argued that there was no suitable roosting habitat in the immediate area of the proposed development. They said that the wind farm would not affect some of the bird species identified in the opposition to the development.

It was also stated by the applicants that the site is located around 2.5 kilometres from the nearest floodplain and is separated by a cut over bog.

They said that the Barn Owl nests over two kilometres away and there is no longer evidence to support the presence of the aforementioned Brown Long-eared Bats.

The local residents appealed this decision to An Bord Pleanala who ruled in their favour and overturned the decision of Galway County Council, mainly on the basis of its location Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection areas.

The Planning Appeals Board ruled that the wind farm would also be in close proximity to the River Suck, Middle Shannon Callows and Little Brosna Callows which are designated for their importance to wintering and migratory birds, wetland birds and waterfowl.

“The wind farm site is potentially used and over flown by a range of bird species that are listed as conservation interests for these nearby Special Protection Areas and the proposed development would cause a disturbance and pose a potential collision risk to these species which include the Whooper Swan, Lapwind and Golden Plover,” An Bord Pleanala stated.

The Board were also not satisfied that the proposed development would not have an adverse impact on environmentally sensitive sites in the immediate area.

Local FF councillor Donal Burke also expressed concerns over the development. “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,” he said.

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

Connacht Tribune

Remembering the rough and tumble of open-air festivals

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

One of those public relations puff pieces – admittedly sent out on behalf of a mattress manufacturer who might just have a vested interest in sleep – offered a series of suggestions by which those attending outdoor music festivals this summer might be assured of a restful night.

That conveniently overlooks the fact that no one ever went to a weekend music festival in search of a good night’s sleep; indeed, for some any form of shuteye qualifies as proof that things didn’t go as well as you might have hoped.

Which means that the suggestions of these ‘sleep experts’ might have to be taken with a small pinch of salt – after a shot of Tequila at sunrise if you’re a real music head, of course.

But for what they’re worth, the experts suggest you bring an eye mask, use ear plugs so you can tune into a relaxing podcast, and take a nap during the day.

Alternatively, you could always stay at home because the rough and tumble of a weekend in a tent on a boggy field might not be for you. Instead pull up a comfy chair and watch Glastonbury on the BBC.

Even as it is, those festival-goers who think they’re roughing it don’t know the meaning of the word; unless you were in Lisdoonvarna in the eighties, you have no idea what getting back to basics is all about.

Equally the modern outdoor music festival involves a field or a park in the middle of a city, to which you can take the LUAS and your picnic basket, secure in the knowledge that the concert licence means you’ll be on your way towards home by around half ten.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

The only thing Boris Johnson actually believes in is himself

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Boris Johnson...clinging on despite all the odds.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

This is a column that is a little bit about a political question – and a lot about how political leaders manage to cling on to power. The political question is the Northern Protocol, and the leader clinging on – despite all the odds – is, who else, but Boris Johnson.

How he has managed to stay in 10 Downing Street defies all precedent. Many of his predecessors have fallen on their swords for much, much less.

Since becoming Prime Minister, Johnson has careered from crisis to crisis, disaster to disaster. When it was agreed by the EU and the UK, he hailed the Northern Ireland Protocol as a triumph.

As the Prime Minister he ousted, Theresa May, reminded him in the Commons this week when she was speaking of his low stock among international leaders: “Actually, I suspect they are saying to themselves why should they negotiate in detail with a government that shows itself willing to sign an agreement, claim it as a victory, and then try and tear it apart in three years’ time?”

That’s a good question. Johnson is now trying to destroy something he partly created. And the litany of other contradictions run deep. He spent weeks going around the place joking about Covid, shaking hands, and downplaying its seriousness. Then he caught it and almost died from it.

The number of deaths in Britain from Covid were among the highest, pro rata, anywhere. It would have downed another leader. But not Johnson.

In fairness, the British were the first to come out with mass vaccinations even though the decision to extend the time period before the first and second jab was not a great one in retrospect.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Move sought on scheme to promote growing of catch crops

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Stephen Canavan: Scheme needed on catch crops.

THE Dept. of Agriculture has been urged to ‘move swiftly’ and introduce an incentive scheme for the growing of ‘catch crops’ this Summer to help any potential Winter feed shortages.

Galway IFA Chairman, Stephen Canavan, told the Farming Tribune that such a scheme would be easy to introduce and would incentivise farmers to grow catch crops such as rape and kale.

“These crops would provide a high-quality feed for stock during the early Winter period and would also give farmers the opportunity to reseed land for next year,” said Stephen Canavan.

He said that while the Fodder Support Scheme (FSS) would be a welcome help to farmers, more assistance from the Dept. of Agriculture would be required to ensure that there were no feed shortages over the coming Winter season.

Fast growing catch crops – such as rape and kale – can be sown in mid to late Summer and still be ready for feeding by the early Winter period.

However, last week, National IFA Chair, Paul O’Brien, hit out at the EU Commission for delivering ‘mixed messages’ in terms of their policy on farmers producing more grain and fodder crops.

He said that while last month, the EU were encouraging farmers to grow more crops for feed, they were at the same time pressing ahead with proposals for reductions in the use of pesticides – essential for crop protection.

“Commissioner Wojciechowski was explicit when he addressed our National Council last month: ‘the EU Farm to Fork policy will have to be re-visited in light of food security concerns.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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