Tuesday, 8 February 2022
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Almost all the Minister of State's response focused on the need for energy and climate action requirements. There is widespread recognition of that aspect from locals and the planning authority in this case. There are, however, places that are more suitable for different uses. It must surely be recognised that tourism is to be considered in this context as well. Gougane Barra has to be regarded as a stand-out area for tourism. Just because a national policy is in place to approve wind farms, that does not mean that every application submitted, even in unsuitable locations, must be encouraged as sites for wind farms. Gougane Barra must surely be recognised as being more suitable for tourism. The county council was adamant about this point and even An Bord Pleanála's own inspector recognised this. It is not possible to make another Gougane Barra. It is not an option available. There are, though, many other sites for wind farms.
Chuir sé an-ionadh ar fad ar mhuintir na háite agus daoine go forleathan ar fud an domhain, dáiríre, gur cheadaigh An Bord Pleanála an t-iarratas i nGuagán Barra. Bhí an chomhairle contae glan ina aghaidh agus níor bhraith sí go raibh an áit oiriúnach in aon chor. Glacaimid leis go bhfuil gá le foinsí fuinnimh éagsúla agus le gaoth ach tá áiteanna nach bhfuil oiriúnach agus teastaíonn an ceantar atá mórthimpeall ar Ghuagán Barra a fhorbairt i gcomhair turasóireachta. Tá sí níos oiriúnaí i gcomhair turasóireachta ná mar atá sé i gcomhair gaoithe. Mar sin, ghoill sé go mór ar mhuintir na háite. Ní féidir Guagán Barra eile a dhéanamh ach tá roghanna ann maidir le fuinneamh gaoithe.
Alternatives are available. We already host many wind farms in our community and it is recognised that there is a place for doing so. Gougane Barra, though, should surely be recognised for what it is. The county council recognises that, Fáilte Ireland recognises that and surely An Bord Pleanála should recognise it as well. I do not feel that appropriate consideration was given to tourism in this regard.