Independent councillor Seamus Weir, who has been a leading adversary of the proposed GridWest project, brought forward a motion to the October meeting of Mayo County Council calling for the council to rescind its Wind Energy Strategy Plan and to review its Renewable Energy Strategy.
Cllr Weir told the meeting: “What we did with these plans was a big mistake, we didn’t totally know what we were doing.” He also said that under the plans there could be wind farms three miles from the centre of Ballina. Cllr Weir went on to say that he was not against wind energy, but he was against the large scale industrial plans.
On the issue of the GridWest project and proposed 400kv pylons, he pointed out that Mayo was trying to position itself as the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way and there was the possibility of the pylons being dropped in the middle of it. He also said that he feared the review of the project would be announced after Christmas and it will get the go ahead. “If it’s going ahead it has to go underground,” he concluded.
Cllr Weir’s proposals was supported by Sinn Féin councillor Gerry Murray and Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Loftus. Chief executive of the council Peter Hynes suggested that the review be begun in the Environmental SPC of the council and it be taken on from there, which was agreed to at the meeting.
While this debate was taking place in the council chamber anti-pylon and windfarm protesters were holding a demonstration outside the councils office.
A statement released by the Martin Daly from the group stated that the groups want the National Renewable Energy Action Plan scrapped, an independent cost benefit analysis done on Grid 25, including the industrial wind farm and Grid West proposals, and an investigation into the cross pollination of interests in the semi state and private sector driving a wind dominated renewable energy policy that is making Ireland uncompetitive, is ripping off consumers, and is going to badly affect brand Mayo and the tourism industry.