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Renua leader slams wind energy double standards for Laois

Renua Ireland leader John Leahy

Renua Ireland leader John Leahy has expressed serious concerns about “apparent double standards” being applied to Laois people over the issue of wind energy.

Cllr Leahy was commenting on the Draft Ministerial Direction to the Laois County Development Plan by Environment Minister Eoghan Murphy.

Mr Leahy said: ‘‘Ministers do have the power to set aside county plans if they are against the public interest.

“Resistance to the wholesale wind-power though is in the public interest and the interests of the environment.

“It is an example of people power in action where the people have declared they want to exclude any further failed wind-power technology from Laois.’’

Mr Leahy also expressed concern over the ‘‘apparent contradiction in policies between Minister Murphy and Energy, Minister Denis Naughten.

Mr Naughten has said in the Dáil that the current guidelines are not fit for purpose.

“Now astonishingly, even though the Minister in charge of wind-power has said the current guidelines are ‘not fit for purpose’ his planning counterpart, Minister Murphy wants Laois County Council to change its County Development Plan to comply with these unfit for purpose illegal guidelines.

“This is the opposite of joined up Government and in the process the democratically mandated Laois councillors are being brushed aside and ignored.’’

Mr Leahy also warned: ‘‘Laois people are being treated like second class citizens when compared to other counties,” as he went on to explain,  “Donegal County Council has also included an effective set back distance of 1.5km to 1.75km.

“Westmeath has also adopted a variation to their development plan and adopted a graduation of tiered set-back distances ranging between 500 metres to 2,000 metres.”

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