Wind Farm supporters in Ireland plan to shoot all hen harriers on sight.

In suport of a wind farm planning application made in Ireland, “An Bord Pleanala” in County Kerry rules wind farm development is no threat to hen harriers. Recently there have been threats from farmers to shoot all hen harriers on sight if opposition proposals result in the scheme being withdrawn. The body of a hen harrier that had just been shot was sent anonymously by post to The Kerryman newspaper office in Tralee.

The farmers’ organisation in County Kerry, the IFA, has welcomed a decision by An Bord Pleanala to grant permission for a wind farm in an area earmarked for Special Protected Area status for the hen harrier.
 
Bord Pleanala granted permission for a small wind farm to be developed by Ventus Energy Ltd. at Curraghafoil, Doon in the Slieve Felim mountains on the Tipperary-Limerick border.
 
This was against the wishes of both Duchas and Limerick County Council who felt that, as well as harming the visual amenity, the six-turbine development would endanger the hen harrier. The IFA believes that the decision, which gives permission for wind turbines, sets a precedent. It could allow many proposed wind farms to be built in other mountainous areas, especially Cork and Kerry, earmarked for Special Protected Area status by Duchas.
 
The Bord Pleanala inspectors concluded there was only tenuous evidence that the rotating blades of wind turbines could kill hen harriers.
 
The Slieve Felim development is within an area due to be given special protection status for the hen harrier by Duchas before the end of this year.
 
Duchas is also proposing to set aside 80,000 acres in north Kerry/west Limerick as a Special Protection Area for the hen harrier. This is being strongly opposed by the IFA and other farming organisations in Ireland.
 
Kerry IFA chairman Mr Flor McCarthy supported the Slieve Felim decision, saying it endorsed the farmers’ view that wind farms caused no harm to hen harriers.
 
“There are opportunities for farmers to go into wind farming as a means of extra income. Wind farming shouldn’t all be left to groups like the ESB and Saorgas,” he said.
 
Last April, planning permission was granted for a four-turbine wind farm at Kielduff, in the Stack’s mountains, near Tralee, but that decision is under appeal to Bord Pleanala.
 
It is understood that at least six wind farms are proposed for the area. Duchas wants the area instead to be accorded special protection status.
 
There are only 130 hen harrier breeding pairs remaining in Ireland, and around one third of these are in the south-west.

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