FG – Harte, McHugh TD

Dinny and Joe wind

Image of FG’s Joe McHugh and Dinny McGinley opening Corkermore wind farm

Sadly Fine Gael – Paddy Harte and Joe McHugh failed to respond to our questions or our offer of a guest blog post, despite our various efforts.  Nevertheless we shall attempt to give our readers an idea of where they stand on wind farms.

No.

Question

Our Answer (no FG response)

1

Do you, or your family members, own/direct or otherwise have a pecuniary interest in a wind farm or related company? We are not aware of any direct family members of either McHugh or Harte owning shares in or directing any wind farm company

2

Have you ever attended a pre-planning meeting between a local authority and wind farm promoter? We are not aware of either McHugh or Harte doing so.  But senior FG Cllrs including a former Mayor have done so in the past.

3

How close to a wind farm would you live?

For this question assume a wind farm of 5 turbines each 125m height and select from the options (i) doesn’t matter next door is fine; (ii) must be at least 500m away; (iii) must be at least 750m away; (iv) must be at least 1km away; (v) must be at least 1.25km away; or (vi) must be at least 2km away.

(i) doesn’t matter next door is fine

We must answer ‘it doesn’t matter’ as FG have been in Government and have failed to address the setback issue.  Also majority of FG Cllrs in Donegal failed to support recent proposed changes to Donegal County Development Plan

4

During the current Dáil term Fine Gael TDs have failed to speak out against flawed wind energy guidelines, and merely turn up smiling to wind farm events/openings – this is even evidenced in the FG Plan and the new charter for rural Ireland which both ignore the wind farm issue: Why do you ignore local anti-wind farm sentiment? No response – either the two candidates really don’t care or have no interest in regulating the wind industry.

5

If elected will you support Donegal County Councillors variation no.2 on wind farm planning and make your support of or participation in a government conditional on the Minister for Environment dropping his opposition to variation no.2 and withdrawing his section 31 direction?  This can be achieved if the Minister withdraws opposition to the high court case: Campbell -v- Minister for the Environment 2014/712 JR which is set for hearing in June 2016.  If not, why not? There is no evidence to suggest either FG would support variation no. 2 on wind farm planning.  Indeed the majority of FG Cllrs on Donegal Council failed to support recent proposed changes to Donegal County Development Plan as proposed by Cllr Campbell.
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