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// Locals divided over plan for €200m wind farm
PLANS FOR an "industrial-scale" €200 million wind farm is dividing opinion among locals in a coastal west Clare community.
Seventy-nine landowners are set to benefit from annual rental payments from West Coastal Wind Power Ltd for the wind farm.
It will have turbines reaching over 400ft in height.
A number of locals have lodged submissions to An Bord Pleanála in favour of the plan, with others voicing their opposition.
Bodies to make submissions on the plan include Birdwatch Ireland, Friends of the Irish Environment, the Department of Heritage and Fáilte Ireland, which has expressed concern over the industrial scale of the proposal.
In his submission, Pat Honan of Doonbeg told An Bord Pleanála: "This wind farm will save locals from emigration and keep local businesses open to give t he required services to the community."
Patrick Downes of Cree said: "We have a large number of our young people emigrating because there is no work for them and no prospects going forward. This wind farm will create work and will provide permanent employment for the duration of its life."
Bridget and James Flanagan snr of Cree said: "We believe the visual clutter of such structures, in such proximity to natural amenities such as fishing and walking trails in an area that has fantastic potential for tourism promotion, will be detrimental to efforts to develop this vital injection of cashflow into the community."
In their objection, John and Maeve O'brien of Shragh said approval would mean the area's unique selling point of beautiful open countryside "will be lost and all the tourism-reliant jobs along with it".
16 Jan 2012
The Irish Times