There was a packed room of over 150 concerned community members at an information meeting organised by the Ardee Community Wind Action Group at the Hunterstown Inn last week.
It’s been only three weeks since Gaelectric unveiled their proposal for the Corracon Wind Farm, which would see five 126m-high turbines built in the scenic Smarmore area. But the community has been very quick to mobilise against it and educate themselves about the various effects these turbines will have on residents’ health, the landscape and the local economy.
Peter Carolan, chair of the group, pointed out that the group isn’t against wind energy.
‘This is the right idea, but in the wrong location,’ said Peter Carolan chair of the group. ‘Drakestown is one of the highest points in the county, so these turbines will be clearly visible as far away as Dundalk. This wind farm would define our landscape and our community.’
Colin Gallagher from Gallagher Property Consultants talked about how the wind farm would likely affect house prices. ‘Will it affect value? In a nutshell, yes,’ he said. ‘The closer you are to the turbines, the worse it will be. In some cases, it could render your house unsellable.’
Meath councillor Paddy Meade said the only thing that will stop them is people coming together as a community and lodging objections. The group is planning on hosting objection clinics in the near future to help walk people through the process.
“You won’t get the benefit but you will suffer all the pain,” Deputy Fergus O’Dowd warned.
He pledged to support the group and to lobby the government to increase setback distances for proposed turbines.