Legendary Irish musician, John Sheahan, the last surviving member of the Dubliners, is part of a residents group objecting to plans to construct a large solar farm close to their homes.
The Peacockstown resident’s group, which opposes plans by a company called Energia Solar Holdings, is based in Ratoath county Meath, and also includes John Delaney’s predecessor as FAI boss, Brendan Menton.
Menton was Honorary Treasurer of the Football Association of Ireland between 1996 and 2000, before graduating to the role of General Secretary between 2000 and 2002.
The group are concerned about the plans as they say the solar panels that will be used would be located very close to their back gardens.
The original planing application for the farm was declared invalid by Meath County Council but new site notices were erected on February 2nd and a second planning application is in the pipeline.
Sheahan told Meath Live, ‘The proposed panels, and there would be a substantial amount of them would be placed close to rear gardens of a number of houses, including mine and my neighbours which is an obvious concern.
‘I’d feel there are a number of problems with the proposed location, it will destroy good agricultural land for one thing and if that land is lost it can never be replaced.
‘The glint, glare and reflection from them will make things uncomfortable for those of us who have to face into it.
‘This proposal covers 220 acres and also approval has already been granted for 210 acres in adjoining land.
‘The panels are over 3.5 metres high and I suppose what has upset a lot of people around here is that the company are adamant they are doing this and there has been no engagement with locals at all.
‘As I see this the whole solar energy and solar farm thing is a political issue that is being used to keep certain people happy.
‘And to be honest I don’t think that these monstrosities, and that is what they are, are particularly useful either.’
Sources have claimed that attempts are being made to label Sheahan and his fellow objectors as NIMBYs, an acronym that stands for Not In My Back Yard.
One said ‘ That accusation has been thrown around but it extremely unfair to John and the rest of them, as it seems no attempt has been made to discuss it with them at all.
‘The feeling would be that, like most problems, a compromise could be reached, anyone who knows John Sheahan, and that would probably be the whole of Ireland,.would know he’s an approachable individual, but he is backing the rest of us around here who won’t be bullied by a large company.’
An Energia spokesperson said, ‘Energia Group is a leading provider of energy from renewable sources on the island of Ireland. The site at Paddock, Rtoath, has been carefully selected and the project team has undertaken a wide range of environmental assessments to ensure the proposed project’s suitability for the surrounding environs. As part of these activities and any proposed future development, Energia will continue to proactively engage with local communities and stakeholder’s.