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Wind Turbines In Scenic Tipperary Gets Green Light

spire“Wind turbines may not be a big issue in the centre of Dublin.” – Westmeath TD Robert Troy.

Dublin we understand has spent one million Euro re-branding itself from ‘Dirty Aul Town’ to, despite its unprecedented current daily carbon emissions, ‘Dublin – A breath of Fresh Air.’

Perhaps now is the time to attach a Wind Turbine to the ‘Stiletto in the Ghetto’, – the ‘Nail in the Pale,’ – the ‘Pin in the Bin,’ also sometimes known as the ‘Millenium Spire’, rising above Dublin’s O’Connell Street.  This Spire, were such wind equipment to be installed, could then be re-branded ‘The Gale in the Pale’.

Certainly the introduction of a wind turbine would grant Dublin’s visiting overcharged tourists a more deceptive view of our green, clean, modern environment; its blades permanently spinning, aided by never ending hot air being exhaled by certain elected representatives in our present Cabinet.

Down here in Tipperary, where the buses no longer run; which is also home to the emotional Minister for ‘Waterworks’, Mr Alan Kelly, increasing public frustrations are being regularly expressed on five major pre-election issues, identified as currently destroying our rural economy.

These issues refer to; (A) The most cost-effective way we introduced Irish water charges; (B) The proposed construction of a 165km water pipeline to be located south of Lough Derg on the Tipperary side of the Parteen Basin, to suck water across Ireland for seriously dehydrated Dublin residents; (C) The unwarranted introduction of Property Tax on people regardless of their ability to pay; (D) Absence of rural GP care, due to the removal by this government of the Rural Practice Allowance for doctors; (E) and finally Wind Turbine Farming ventures, one in particular proposed for scenic ‘Keeper Hill’ in the Silvermines Mountains, by ESB Wind Development Ltd and Coillte.  Keeper Hill, by the way, marks the highest point of rural North Tipperary and is one of Ireland’s highest scenic inland mountains; but who outside of Tipperary gives a ‘Tinkers Curse’?

Issues (A), (B), (C) and (D) we will leave alone just for the moment and deal exclusively with issue surrounding (E); Wind Turbine Farming close to Keeper Hill.

I believe it was Charles Stewart Parnell who once prophesied that when Irish men got ownership of land, the boundaries of their farms would become the boundaries of their country. The high lease payments being offered by developers to poorer upland farmers for permission to erect destructive unsightly wind turbines on their properties, now confirms Parnells worst fears and identifies a major problem for rural Tipperary.  Those offered leases by developers are not taking into account the natural beauty of the landscapes they own, the views of their neighbours or the future real destruction of a slow growing Irish tourism industry.

Minister Kelly stated publicly last week that ‘he is confident’ (well he would say that, wouldn’t he) that the Government will produce details of a new ‘set-back’ distance for future wind turbines, prior to the Spring 2016 General Election. Question is; will his proposed changes to current rules governing wind turbine farming make any difference to Ms Edel Grace, Grouse Hall, Milestone, Thurles, Co. Tipperary or environmental consultant Peter Sweetman, Bunahowen, Cashel, Co Galway? Will changes make any difference to Tipperary in attracting tourism or to the other current residents and rare wildlife who share our planet, presently residing in the full view of picturesque Keeper Hill, Co. Tipperary?

This past week Tipperary’s Edel and Galway’s Peter lost their High Court case, brought in their lonely attempt to highlight the catastrophic adverse impact wind turbines will have on the locale of the Hen Harrier population. The High Court was made aware that some 400 acres of this rare bird’s natural foraging habitat would be irrevocably destroyed by the presence of such wind turbines.   [To Hell with Hen Harriers, we can live without them, can’t we?.]

The couple also argued that a proper environmental impact assessment had not been carried out and this planned, proposed development; would significantly detract from the protected view of Keeper Hill, Co. Tipperary.   [To Hell with environmental impact assessments, more EU red tape. Who invited them to stick their noses into Irish affairs – just keeping sending us the eco-innovation and biodiversity cheques?]

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and an inspector on behalf of An Bord Pleanála had both recommended that permissions regarding this wind farm should be refused.    [To Hell with governmental and independent bodies, what right have they to be interfering in our greedy grabbing financial affairs, just hand over the grant aided  funding?]

Despite the Court applicants both claiming that the original permissions granted breached the EU Habitats Directive and the EU Environment Impact Assessment Directive, Mr Justice Raymond Fullan refused to refer a decision permitting the development of this planned wind farm to the European Court of Justice. He also refused to certify that the case raised points of law of such exceptional importance that it was in the public’s interest that same be further determined by a Court of Appeal.

This decision now clears the way for the planned unsightly development of this wind farm, which comprises; 16 turbines each 127 meters high; together with access tracks; an electrical transformer station; control buildings and a substation close to Edel Grace’s private home in Co Tipperary.

The contentious issue of erecting rural wind turbines dominated ‘Leaders Questions’ in our national parliament, Dáil Éireann, last Thursday, leading to angry exchanges and as usual no answers. From these exchanges the general public did glean that the facts around wind turbines was a ‘bone of contention’ between Labour Minister Alan Kelly and his Cabinet Labour colleague, Dublin-Rathdown Communications Minister Alex White. It appears that an urbanised Minister White is adamant that the development of more onshore wind turbines must be strongly supported within rural Ireland; warning that overly rigorous rural planning guidelines could result in Ireland missing EU renewable energy targets, thus leaving our country liable for massive fines. It appears that a Rural Ireland must continue to suffer to ensure ‘Urban Progress’ and ‘Urban Job Creation’.

Robert Troy, Fianna Fáil’s Children’s spokesperson argued strongly that such turbine development may not be a big issue in the centre of Dublin city, but that rural Ireland are deeply and understandably worried over the continuous impact of such wind farm developments in rural areas. Some rural groups, which are understood to include major figures involved in Ireland’s equine industry, have been demanding that the Government immediately introduce significant ‘set-back distances’ and rightly regulate future turbine construction.

Any new rules if introduced are expected to increase the minimum distance between these noisy, ground vibrating, eye-sores (which are currently supposed to stands a mere 500m from a private home), while continuing to destroy natural areas of scenic beauty and drastically reduce the market value of existing private residences. Wind energy companies are also expected to be halted in the construction of Mega-Wind Turbines into the future, from reaching heights of higher than 170m.

Alan Kelly made promises, also prior to the 2011 General Election, in relation to rural Ireland and his native Co. Tipperary; e.g. Employment, Industry, Tourism. Now five years on and despite his own personal elevation to the post of Deputy Labour Party Leader, not even one of his promises have ever materialised.

No doubt the posters for 2016 will again read;  VOTE NO 1Alan Kelly – Labour Party.


Installation Of Thurles Solar Farm Possible By 2016

Furze_jpegLast month Tipperary County Council won a national award for its work in relation to its energy management performance and on its uptake of renewable energy solutions. Photovoltaic (PV) panels were installed by Tipperary County Council on fire stations, libraries, civic offices and at the Nenagh leisure centre, in a project which increased Ireland’s total PV capacity by some 44%.

New data shows that 800 panels installed in nine buildings owned by the Tipperary Council at a cost of €330,000 are presently generating 10% more power than projected, and will pay for themselves in just over six years.

Will Tipperary now be a catalyst for change; leading other areas of Ireland in generating further green energy in a clean sustainable way?

This week we learn that Lightsource Ireland, a renewable energy company are currently examining a proposal for the installation of a Solar Farm on lands situated at ‘The Furze’, situated east of Thurles Town, in County Tipperary.

Lightsource Renewable Energy is currently Europe’s leading solar energy company and operates a variety of solar farms and rooftop installations; while working closely with local communities, businesses and landowners, to generate green energy in a clean sustainable way.

You can view further details regarding this overall proposal by clicking HERE or click on image top left to magnify the image shown.

The proposed area, well known locally as ‘The Furze’ consists of a cluster of small connected fields, totalling some 27 acres. Same pastures are currently being used as grassland for silage and grazing. This proposed infrastructure, should it be agreed worthy of installation, will only reach a maximum height of 2.5 metres (8.2 ft).  Existing established hedgerows therefore will be completely effective in screening any future solar farm installation from the view of public sight. Any present gaps in the existing hedgerows will be in-filled using native planting.

Agricultural fencing of about 2 metres in height is being proposed to surround any future site perimeter; same appropriate to the present rural setting and this fence will sit inside the surrounding hedgerows. Importantly, ‘Mammal Gates’ in this fencing, strategically placed, would allow for small mammals to move freely across the site, undisturbed.

Solar farms, unlike Wind Turbines and highly pollutant conventional Power Plants, are passive installations which do not produce any harmful by-products, such as noise, glare, seepage of harmful substances or the emission of high levels of electromagnetic radiation, which effect radio transmissions.

The land within this proposed solar farm area can continue to be grazed by sheep, thus keeping pastures in continual agricultural production. The wide field margins and associated areas of open grassland can be also managed to create, enhance and give sanctuary to local existing wildlife.

While these plans are still in the very early stages of discussion, Lightsource are keen to gather local input before they submit any formal planning application.

Thurles residents and those living within the towns environs, who would like to see how they can get involved in this project, are requested to get in touch with the Lightsource team directly or by attending at Thurles Rugby Club, Moyne Road, Thurles, County Tipperary on December 8th 2015 between 5:30-8pm, to meet, in person, Lightsource personnel for further debate and information.


Tipperary Workshops Wrap Up Christmas Waste

Waste Recycling Station

Waste Recycling

The people of Tipperary are playing their part in reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill this Christmas by participating in three workshops throughout the county.

The ‘Trash to Treasure Christmas Workshops’ will examine the waste issue at Christmas and how individuals, households and businesses can reduce this mountain of rubbish that can build up over the festive period.

The Tipperary Women’s Network will host a workshop at Knocanrawley Resource Centre in Tipperary town on 10th December, while a similar workshop will be held at Lackamore N.S. from 1.00pm to 3.00pm on the same day. Meanwhile, Rockwell College in Cashel will host a workshop tomorrow (Tuesday, December 1st).

The Southern Waste Regional Office, supported by Tipperary County Council, is hosting the events, which will feature waste prevention tips and demonstrations.

“The people of Tipperary have always been very responsible when it comes to disposal of plastic, paper and glass materials built up over the Christmas period, and I am confident that they will respond similarly this year,” said Pauline McDonogh, Regional Waste Prevention Co-ordinator, Southern Waste Region.

“Attendees at the upcoming workshops will create decorations from waste, look at resourceful presents and wrapping, and share ideas for reducing food waste,” she said.

Ms. McDonogh continued: “With the Christmas holidays comes lots of extra packaging, particularly in the home. However, most of this packaging can be recycled. We are again reminding the public to bring their recyclable waste to our recycling centres and bottles and aluminium cans to the bring banks around County Tipperary.”

The Southern Waste Region encompasses the local authorities in Tipperary, Carlow, Clare, Cork City, Cork County, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick City & County, Waterford City & County and Wexford.

Visit www.southernwasteregion.ie for more Info.


Co. Tipperary Wins Award For Energy Management

tippOn Thursday night last, Tipperary County Council won the Public Sector Sustainable Energy Award at a ceremony organised by the National Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

The SEAI itself has a mission to play a leading role in the transformation of Ireland to a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices. SEAI is partly financed by Ireland’s EU Structural Funds Programme co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union.

The award was won by Tipperary County Council for work in relation to its energy management performance and on its uptake of renewable energy solutions.

Tipperary County Council contested strong competition from three other finalists in the Public Sector category, namely; The Dublin Airport Authority, Gas Networks and An Post, who were also strong opponents in this close run national contest.

Cathaoirleach Cllr. Mr Seamus Hanafin and Council Director, Mr Matt Shortt accepted the award on behalf of Tipperary County Council, at a gala ceremony in Kilmainham Gaol.

Speaking following the acceptance of this award, Tipperary County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Hanafin, stated that the award further highlighted the outstanding achievements by Tipperary County Council who, in partnership with Tipperary Energy Agency, were fully committed to upgrading their sustainable energy policy.

Praising all involved in finding genuine renewable energy solutions, Cllr. Hanafin stated, “Huge benefits have accrued to both Tipperary County Council as well as the people of Co. Tipperary. These benefits are borne out through achieving major cost reductions brought about by providing retrofits for both public buildings and houses, thus also greatly reducing our current carbon footprint.”

Entrants to the 2015 Sustainable Energy Awards have saved an unprecedented €48 million in the last year, through their extraordinary sustainable energy projects undertaken.


2015 IPB ‘Pride Of Place’ Awards

prideofplace-The IPB ‘Pride of Place’ Awards ceremony will be streamed live online this year, organisers have announced.

Up to 1,000 people from all over the island of Ireland will gather in Treacy’s West County Hotel, Ennis, Co. Clare, on Saturday, November 14th, for a ceremony hosted by Clare County Council and Cooperation Ireland, which runs the competition north and south of the border.

It is the first time in the 13-year history of the all-island competition that the same county has hosted the ceremony two years running. More than 100 groups nominated by local authorities all over the island of Ireland are participating in this year’s competition, which is regarded as Ireland’s most prestigious all-island community awards.

One of the main category winners in last years (2014) IPB Pride of Place competition was our own Cloughjordan, here in Co. Tipperary, who won an Eco Initiative Award.

The 2015 IPB Pride of Place Awards will be broadcast live on www.prideofplace.ie and www.clare.ie from 7.30pm on Saturday, 14th November 2015.