Media excluded from Council briefing on wind energy at monthly meeting

KILDARE County Council excluded media from a presentation on a major windfarm project proposal before its normal monthly meeting on 30 July.Media were not allowed into the Council chamber to hear a presentation by Element Power, a US owned company, which plans to build wind farms in the midlands and export energy to the UK.

KILDARE County Council excluded media from a presentation on a major windfarm project proposal before its normal monthly meeting on 30 July.Media were not allowed into the Council chamber to hear a presentation by Element Power, a US owned company, which plans to build wind farms in the midlands and export energy to the UK.

The company, which is operating under the Greenwire project name, says it will be consulting locals, including a number of local authorities in the region.

It will seek permission from Bord Pleanala, not from Kildare County Council, under the Strategic Infrastructure Act.

The company had already issued a statement on its plans on 17 July.

The Leader sought answers as to why the councillors were briefed in a closed session and approached Foley Ryan Communications, who, we understood had approached Kildare County Council about meeting the Element Power delegation.

Mairéad Foley, of Foley Ryan, said she personally had liaised with Kildare County Council on behalf of Greenwire.

“There was no request to have an in camera session. In fact I had been of the belief that the session was open,” she said.

She also referred us to Keating and Associates which is representing the company for the project.

We then asked the Council for an explanation. Spokesperson, Annette Aspell said:

“Unfortunately, the request to make a presentation to the members in relation to the Greenwire project was received after the agenda for the meeting had issued. 

Given that the council is not meeting again until the end of September, and in order to accommodate the request, arrangements were made, at short notice, for a presentation to be made to the councillors in advance of the meeting last Monday.”

Sean Perry from Keating Associations, Element Power’s public relations company said that in addition to briefing TDs from each of the five midland counties,

Element Power has also briefed councillors from Meath, Offaly, Kildare and Laois.

The company will be meeting councillors from Westmeath after the August recess.”

- Henry Bauress