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27/09/2021

Public opposition growing against proposed wind farm on large bog in Offaly

Public opposition growing against proposed Offaly windfarm

Leamonaghan Bog lies between Ballycumber and Ferbane and many locals don't want the proposed Bord na Móna wind farm to be located there.

Public Opposition is steadily growing against a proposed windfarm in Leamonaghan Bog.

The bog covers a vast area, about 1,200 hectares on either side of the R436 between Ballycumber and Ferbane.

In March, Bord na Móna announced that it was going to construct a wind farm on the bog.

It didn't stipulate how many turbines there will be, but they will probably be between 185 metres to 220 metres high.
The company's project is at the Phase One Public Consultation phase.

A local resident spoke to the Midland Tribune this week and said a lot of people in the area are strongly against this idea.

“One of the main reasons for this opposition is the visual impact that the turbines will have,” she said. “We think our bog is beautiful and these huge turbines will damage that beauty.”

She said Bord na Móna had recently delivered information packs to the hundreds of homes in the area.

Locals want to hold a public meeting but can't because of Covid restrictions. They want the company to pause the Phase One stage until the restrictions have been taken away and public meetings can once again be held.

The local resident said a large number of homes could be very close to the turbines and therefore subject to light flicker and noise pollution.

“Leamonaghan bog is one of the richest bogs in the world in terms of archaeological finds,” she added. “There have been about six hundred finds here over the years, some of them pre-Christian. There is a very rich heritage and history here, including St Manchan's Shrine, St Mella's Cell. There was a monastery in Leamonaghan which was connected to Clonmacnoise.

Archaeologists have found some of the old roads which ran out from Leamonaghan monastery.

“The area is rich in terms of wildlife, and we are worried about bird kills by the turbine blades.

“We feel that building turbines here is not an appropriate response to the landscape. It is not sympathetic to the area.

“This development, if it goes ahead, will have a huge visual impact on those living in the countryside and on those living in Ballycumber, Pullough and Ferbane.

“It's a very insensitive project.”

She agreed that there would be less opposition to the project if it was a solar farm. “There's an ancient pilgrim path here and the tranquillity, peace and healing along this ancient route could be developed into something special - thousands of people travel to the Camino for a similar experience.

"We have it on our doorsteps, but now we need to protect it. The wind turbines would negatively impact the untouched peace and tranquillity of the ancient pilgrim path. Offaly needs more tourism, with more and more people discovering Ireland. This is truly one of Ireland hidden treasures. Consider the possibilities - Offaly’s answer to the Camino de Santiago.”

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