There has been widespread dismay at the An Bord Pleanála decision to grant full planning permission for 20 wind turbines and three masts to be built on Sliabh Bán, County Roscommon’s highest peak.
According to Roscommon County Councillor (Ind) Tom Crosby, the move will destroy “the future potential of activity tourism such as hill climbing, pony-trekking, bird watching, walking etc. on Sliabh Bán”.
He also commented on the “visual impact for future tourism”, stating that the turbines and masts would serve to “domineer the landscape of our own county and neighbouring counties and as Sliabh Bán overlooks the River Shannon it will be sending out all the wrong messages to visitors who come here to enjoy an unspoiled landscape.”
He added that property values in the area would also suffer and noise pollution would become an issue for the local community.
The Sliabh Bán Community Group expressed its shock and dismay at the An Bord Pleanála decision.
“Most people were concerned about the height of the turbines, which will be taller than the Spire in Dublin, and much higher than any other wind turbines built in County Roscommon. They were concerned that nearby homes will be impacted by the noise of the turbines, shadow flicker, and the visual disturbance of large industrial structures,” read a statement issued by the group.
Many felt frustrated with the Irish planning and political system.
“They could not believe that unelected planners could grant planning permission for the wind farm development, despite a unanimous vote by Roscommon County Councillors opposing the wind farm development and Roscommon TDs also not supporting the proposal. People were wondering what the point was in electing County Councillors if they had, in reality, no effective power.”
The committee will hold a public meeting to allow people to decide what further action can be taken to protect Roscommon’s landmark mountain. The public meeting is planned for Thursday 19th April in the Percy French Hotel, Strokestown.