Kerry councillors are persevering with their views on wind energy, despite a draft ministerial order being issued.
It relates to the wind energy policy in the Kerry County Development Plan 2022-2028, where only one area, Kilgarvan, has been selected for consideration for wind farm development.
The Office of the Planning Regulator says this is inconsistent with the National Planning Framework, and made recommendations for this to be changed.
The Minister then intervened, but despite this, councillors are sticking by their views.
In April, councillors introduced a measure to the Kerry County Development Plan 2022-2028 which would restrict construction of wind energy infrastructure to Kilgarvan.
This was to prevent more turbines in areas like Sliabh Luachra and North Kerry which, they say, have reached capacity for windfarms.
The Office of the Planning Regulator found issue with this and made recommendations to alter the plan, but in July, councillors opted to disregard these.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage issued a ministerial direction in August, and following public consultation, 785 submissions were made.
Kerry councillors met today ahead of Chief Executive, Moira Murrell collating a report, which will summarise councillors’ views and public submissions.
Councillors reiterated their views and stuck to their original decision; Charlie Farrelly said it was a kick in the face to be told by the regulator that they’d taken the ‘back of a fag packet’ approach.
Aoife Thornton asked how the 364 turbines in Kerry aren’t being taken into account by the planning regulator.
Jim Finucane said Kerry is providing up to 20% of Ireland’s wind energy already, and the councillors’ plan still has areas earmarked for wind farm development.
Jackie Healy-Rae feels Kerry’s windfarms rarely reach 50% of capacity, so we should be looking to offshore instead.
Sam Locke, meanwhile, said Shannon LNG is Kerry’s greatest opportunity, yet the government is against it.
The Chief Executive’s report must be sent to the Planning Regulator and Minister by October 5th for consideration and further direction.