Galway TD Anne Rabbitte has accused the government of hypocrisy for “flaunting” its Climate Action Plan while facing million in fines for breaking environmental regulations at Galway windfarm.
The European Court of Justice ruled this month that Ireland should face a €4 million fine for failing to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment for Derrybrien windfarm that may have prevented a landslide.
In 2003 the Derrybrien windfarm was one of the largest in Europe upon its construction with 70 turbines
It made the news that same year for less welcomes reasons when there was a major landslide at the site.
The court has now outlined the fines Ireland faces due to a ‘lack of cooperation’ on the issue since its initial ruling in July 2008.
The fine of just under €4 million was worked out as €1,000 per day from the courts initial ruling, with further daily fines issuing until work begins on the EIA.
The Fianna Fáil TD remarked that “The judgement notes Ireland’s ‘genuine failure’ on dealing with the issue and now, 11 years on, the government is facing a lump sum penalty of over €4 million and then a daily fine of €10,000 per day until an EIA is commenced.”
The Galway East TD expressed her dismay that the government have never once committed to a start date.
She accused the government of flaunting its Climate Action Plan “while simultaneously flouting EU regulations that put the environment at risk.”
Anne Rabbitte added that the impact of the landslide on adjacent rivers cannot be overlooked.
“South Galway has been hit with severe flooding over the last few years and we still don’t know what potential risks could be uncovered in the environmental assessment”
It’s estimated that that somewhere in the region of 50,000 fish were killed when huge mounts of peat collapsed into the Owendalulleegh River, and permanent damage was dine to their spawning beds.
Deputy Rabbitte concluded by stating that the people of Galway need to know “if their lands, homes and businesses are at risk” and what measures need to be put in place to mitigate such risks.