herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Simply Red stars in wind farm battle

Mick Hucknall
Mick Hucknall

SIMPLY Red stars Mick Hucknall and Chris de Margary have vowed to oppose Ireland’s biggest onshore wind farm beside their countryside estate.

They are expected to help finance a legal battle against 49 massive wind turbines in the picturesque Bluestack Mountains in Donegal.

The musicians own the Glenmore Estate in the area as a business venture, hosting wealthy clients for salmon fishing and shooting weekends.

De Margary lives on the estate with his wife Sarah Brown, a backing singer with the group.

A letter on their behalf was read out at a public meeting where 150 local residents announced their plans to appeal planning permission for the development.

“We are totally against these plans in one of the most beautiful landscapes in Ireland,” read the letter signed by both men.

Cork-based Planree Limited want to erect the 49 turbines – each 500-feet high – over a 15km stretch of the Donegal countryside, including the Barnesmore Gap.

The Carrickaduff wind farm would have an output of 105MW, making it the country’s biggest so far.

Developers have offered a €3m local community fund over the next 25 years to pay for projects in the area.

Objections must be lodged with An Bord Pleanala by March 27. Hucknall and De Margary say they will contribute to a €15,000 fighting fund to employ a planning consultant.

They bought their estate in 2005.

The residents are being advised by environmentalist Joe Brennan, who led a successful campaign against a wind farm development in Glenties last year.

“If passed this will open up vast swathes of land for wind farms from Barnesmore Gap to Castlefinn,” said Mr Brennan.

“People have survived in this area for generations without handouts from wind farm developers but if this goes ahead the landscape will be scarred and people’s lives will be changed forever.”

Resident Kathleen O’Dwyer said she wouldn’t “stand by and allow developers from Cork to divide our community on the promise of a quick buck for a few farmers”.

Chair of the newly-formed Finn Valley Against Turbines George Sproule said the application is so big An Bord Pleanala had ruled the planning application should by-pass Donegal County Council and go straight to them.

“We all saw how angry the residents around Croke Park were last summer when their lives were going to be disrupted for five days.

“This is going to be for 25 years,” said Fianna Fail councillor Patrick McGowan.

hnews@herald.ie

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