September 16, 2021
Sinn Fein Raise Derrybrien Windfarm Issues With EU Commission

Sinn Fein Raise Derrybrien Windfarm Issues With EU Commission

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has this week contacted the European Commission to highlight issues with the Derrybrien Windfarm substitute consent application. The Midlands North West MEP was reacting to the publication of the new report on Derrybrien Windfarm conducted for the European Commission and the ending of the “exceptional circumstances” consultation phase. His Galway East party colleague, Louis O’Hara, argues that the daily €15,000 fines will continue to stack up unless there is change of approach from the ESB.

MacManus said:

“One of the most startling aspects of this new report is that the stability of the land where the landslide occurred has not been properly checked since 2005. There are also concerns around future decommissioning activities and its impact on peat stability. In addition, the lack of engagement with the local community and stakeholders and the absence of their concerns from the application is highlighted on a number of occasions.”

“I have contacted the European Commission to express my concern about these issues and to seek their opinion on Ireland’s progress towards resolution of the 2019 ECJ ruling. I have asked them to clarify the ban on turf cutting at the site due to the ESB’s insistence regarding peat instability, which contradicts previous assurances from them in their application that the site is safe.”

“I have also highlighted issues with Galway County Council’s reaction to their and An Bord Pleanála’s adherence to new legislation from December 2020 on ‘exceptional circumstances’. For the majority of the consultation window of five weeks, online access to any new information submitted wasn’t provided, required notices to prescribed bodies and people who had made previous submissions were not executed in accordance with legislation and the public have been faced with a lack of clarity on when the consultation commenced. As a result local residents and stakeholders have again been put at a huge disadvantage. This was wrong and must not be repeated.”

Meanwhile MacManus’s party colleague Louis O’Hara said:

“This new report clearly states that the substitute consent application is non-compliant with the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. Given this assessment it appears impossible that An Bord Pleanála could approve the application or that the EU would consider the case resolved and end the daily fines.”

“Therefore, the reality is that the daily €15,000 fines will continue to stack up unless there is a change of approach from the ESB. Ireland now owes over €15 million in fines and counting. It should not have gotten to this stage as local residents, local groups and Sinn Féin have continually highlighted the issues with this process for some time.”

“There must be accountability within the ESB for how this case has been handled and it must be asked why the Government has not intervened. This is an unacceptable waste of public money and lessons must be learned from this case.” ENDS

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