Groups from across Kildare dismissed government assertions that the UK wind energy export deal is off until at least 2020 and joined the national protest against its energy policies last Tuesday April 15.
Representing Kildare were South Kildare Against Spin, Bog of Allen Communities Against Spin, North Kildare Environmental Protection Group and Rathangan against Spin. Crowds were estimated to be in the region of 7,000, with approximately 400 from Kildare.
A spokesman for the groups explained how they marched behind a “Kildare Says No” banner from Parnell Square to Dail Eireann, where a number of speakers highlighted what the felt were deficiencies in the Government’s renewable energy policy.
They believe the current plan is developer led, with wind farm developers given free rein to locate wind farms wherever they want.
They say no Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)or cost benefit analysis were conducted. The speakers declared no alternatives, such as biomass were considered by authorities. Other issues raised were in relation to subsidies, set back distances, impact on bloodstock and tourism, and possible health impacts.
“The announcement from Minister Rabbitte that the export project was not to proceed was seen by many as an election ploy and an attempt to reduce numbers at the march,” said the spokesperson.
Many public representatives from Kildare were present including Mayor of Kildare, Cllr. Mark Wall, Cllr. Ivan Keatley, Cllr. Martin Miley, Cllr. Seamus Langan, Cllr. Padraig McEvoy and Cllr. Fiona O’Loughlin.
A spokesperson for Kildare Environment Awareness Group, an umbrella group opposed to industrial scale wind farms, stated that they were continuing their campaign to oppose the industrialisation of the Kildare landscape, particularly as Element Power continue to canvass landowners.
Meanwhile, the day after the protest, April 16, saw Bord na Mona pull the plug on its Clean Energy Hub plans for West Kildare/East Offaly. This would have been one of the biggest wind farms in Europe with up to 600 turbines. However, it pledged its commitment to serving the Irish market and it’s likely to pursue wind projects on a smaller scale on it’s cutaway bogland.