Ballina Municipal District has agreed to a request from SSE Renewables for the company to make a presentation to the elected members on their plans for a wind park, at Glenora, near Ballycastle in North Mayo.
The members approved the request from the energy company at their January meeting, which took place earlier this week. Head of the district for Mayo County Council, Declan Turnbull, told the members that: "They want to be upfront and very much open about what they are doing, when they are doing it and how they will do it. They have requested to come to a meeting and do a presentation and allow us to ask questions and get more information from them. I think it is a good idea."
Fine Gael councillor John O'Hora proposed accepting the invitation to meet with the company, saying: "The more presentations we get the better, the more we learn from them. It is one way of letting the councillors and the rest of the people know what is happening."
Cllr Jarlath Munnelly seconded the proposal, saying: "It is a good idea, because I imagine this is a proposal that will go directly to An Bord Pleanala and, unfortunately for the county councils, some of these larger projects that go straight there, kind of get overlooked sometimes; so it is important they would engage with us and listen to our local concerns. There are a number of large wind projects producing electricity and putting it into the grid in the northern area of the county, which is to be welcomed. But I do have concerns with this particular area - that we protect the integrity of the natural scenery we have along the north Mayo coast. My questions to them will be very much along the issue of visibility from places like Downpatrick Head and Ceide. The way to get to that point is for them to come in and have a good exchange of ideas."
Cathaoirleach of the district, Fianna Fáil councillor Annie May Reape, said she agreed and the preserving of the landscape has to be number one and that was very important, 'because there are people who are living there who have concerns already and we'll welcome the opportunity to talk to the company representatives and put those questions to them'.