On the eve we get to vote, let’s look at recent #Wicklow county councillor voting record on #wind farms #actonfacts


There were two wind-farm related votes put before Wicklow councillors recently. On the eve of the local election, it is worth looking at how councillors voted.

Motion one would have zoned many areas of Wicklow as not suitable for wind farms. It was proposed by independent councillor Tommy Cullen.


The motion was defeated.


As a result, the following areas were left open for wind farm development: Carnew, Shillelagh, Manor Kilbride, Tinahely, Dunlavin (areas 6,7,8,9) and also Newtownmountkennedy, Rathnew, Glenealy, Redcross, Laragh, Glendalough, Roundwood, Rathdrum, Arklow.


It is worth noting that while many of the areas above are in south and west wicklow, most of the councillors who voted against the motion are based in the eastern half of the county.


The following county councillors voted against this first motion:

Vincent Blake (Fine Gael)

Sylvester Bourke (Fine Gael)

Mick Glynn (Fine Gael)

George Jones (Fine Gael)

Gráinne McLoughlin (Fine Gael)

Derek Mitchell (Fine Gael)

John Ryan (Fine Gael)

Irene Winters (Fine Gael)

Pat Casey (Fianna Fáil)

Pat Fitzgerald (Fianna Fáil)

Pat Vance (Fianna Fáil)

John Byrne (Labour)

Conal Kavanagh (Labour)

Christopher Fox (Independent)

Jimmy O’Shaughnessy (Independent)


The following county councillors voted for this first motion:

Edward Cullen (Independent) (proposer)

Barry Nevin (Independent)

Jim Ruttle (Independent)

Tom Fortune (Independent)

Pat Doran (Fianna Fáil)

Nicky Kelly (Labour)

Edward Timmins (Fine Gael)

John Brady (Sinn Féin)

John Snell (Sinn Féin)


Pat Vance (Fianna Fáil) said that Cllr Cullen’s proposal would have meant further public consultation. “The members of this Council will not be able to make the decision in the timeframe that the existing members have here”, he said.

So the logic of at least one councillor who voted against Cllr Cullen’s motion is that the lifetime of this particular council is ending, and this justifies the flawed amendments to the development plan. Better some than none.

Motion two was passed. It leaves over 50 percent of Wicklow open for wind farm development. This motion varies the development plan as per the three amendments which were published earlier this year.


There are a few questions arising:

1. Why wasn’t there proper public consultations in the first place, either in 2010 or in the last few months?


2. The Irish Wind Energy Association commented on the amendments that were passed, and requested a meeting with the Council : “an urgent meeting to discuss our concerns prior to any adoption of these proposed amendments”.* This letter constitutes lobbying on this matter by the Irish Wind Energy Association. Did any such meeting take place?


3. The only reason that the voting record was available for this blog post is due to The Wicklow Times’ reporting. Why is there no voting records available online?


So more than half the county now remains open for wind farms, as per the flawed 2010 development plan and the second motion passed.


Luckily, there is a solid planning process, and wind farm developers are subject to it. It is the reason why many wind farms are not going ahead in the wrong places.


And as for elected representatives, we speak via the ballot box tomorrow.


*Irish Wind Energy Association comment on recent amendments:





An #inconvenienttruth that flies in the face of @iwea propaganda #actonfacts #wind #notgreen @Act_on_Facts #iwea

Three protected white-tailed eagles have now died as a direct result of wind turbines in Ireland.

This is a scientific fact, reported on 6/3/14 in The Irish Times.

But if we look at the Irish Wind Energy Association’s website, we see that it is apparently a “myth” that wind farms kill birds:*


               It’s a myth. It’s propaganda more like it.

“Some anti wind proponents exaggerate the threat to birds”, the IWEA states, with no factual evidence whatsoever.*

Make no mistake, dear reader, this is the dark art of propaganda at work.

@IWEA are trying to hide the facts about bird and bat mortality by distracting the reader with statistics about other sources of death for our winged friends. This is a known tactic.

Look over here at these shiny things, sure don’t worry about those inconvenient truths about the lethal effects of turbines on birds and bats.

However, let’s not be distracted by propaganda, let’s proceed and #actonfacts.

Your typical wind turbine kills between 110 and 330 birds per year, according to Spanish conservation charity SEO/Birdlife. Spain’s 18,000 wind turbines maybe killing 6 to 18 million birds and bats per year. [Link 0]

“Despite limited evidence that upland raptors are displaced from wind farms in some situations it is apparent that many are at risk of collision with turbine rotors and any overhead lines,” conclude Madders and Whitfield in the International Journal of Avian Science. [Link 1]

“Wind farms, both operational and in planning, can be expected to impact negatively on wildlife populations, particularly birds”, state Masden et al in ICES Journal of Marine Science. [Link 2]
Four of 36 white tailed eagles killed by wind turbines at one wind farm on an island in Norway from 2005 to 2010, states Nygård in BOU Proceedings – Climate Change and Birds. British Ornithologists’ Union. [Link 3]
Potential impact on birds leads to second phase of London Array being cancelled, reports the FT. [Link 4]
“Recent reports of high numbers of bats killed [by turbines] raise concern…Because bats are long-lived and have exceptionally low reproductive rates, population growth is relatively slow and their ability to recover from population declines is limited, increasing the risk of local extinctions”, state the US Wildlife Society. [Link 5]

“A newly published study by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers says that wind energy facilities have killed at least 85 golden and bald eagles between 1997 and 2012—and that eagle fatalities possibly may be much higher,” reports National Geographic. [Link 6]

@IWEA tweeted a link to an article which quoted the head of the SEAI Dr Brian Motherway:

“It is essential that we have a full debate about energy issues. The debate should be firmly rooted in facts, not myths”.

So instead of peddling bullshit and distraction, The Irish Wind Energy Association, and the profit-making companies involved, need to face the inconvenient truths in the form of scientific #windfacts about the industrial-scale death to bats and birds that is caused by turbines.

If this is a barrier to profits, so be it. The skies, the land and the animals are not yours to take.

“When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realise that you cannot eat money,” as Alanis Obomsawin said.

Anthropogenic climate change is upon us.

Propaganda will not lead to  a way out of climate change.

Turbines slaughter birds and bats on an industrial scale.

Facing inconvenient truths, and then to #actonfacts, is the only possible way out of  climate change.



Link to propaganda: 

* http://www.iwea.com/windenergymyths1

Links to scientific #windfacts:

Link 0.


Link 1.


Link 2.


Link 3.


Link 4.

Link 5
Link 6









Enigmatic pine marten alive and well in west wicklow; new research by @IrishSqPmarten

“What the hell is an otter doing in the garden?”

Turn on the light.

Pine marten.


“Black cat in the bin outside the door”.

Turn on the light.

Pine marten. Fifty cm away.

Enigmatic and cheeky is Martes martes.

Martes_martes_crop *

I then saw a sign that researchers were looking for information in sightings, and I gladly contributed.

The results of that research have now been published, and its good to see scientific data on the bigger picture.

There’s a fair few spots where they live  here in Wicklow.

The research was done by Dr Emma Sheehy @IrishSqPmarten and Dr Colin Lawton of the Ryan Institute’s Mammal Ecology Group in NUI Galway.

Dr Sheehy has an interesting piece here on the @wildireland website


The scientific paper is here with more data




* Nice image by Dani Kropivnik, under creative commons.


Resistance is fertile: 40 wind farms in midlands now unlikely, reports @pm26675

Plans for at least 40 wind farms in five countries, which would export “renewable” electricity, have been shelved, according to Paul Melia’s @pm26675 story in the Irish Independent today. 

As was pointed out many times, this was a way for UK state to achieve outsource achieving renewable energy targets. 

The Examiner are reporting that it was down to”community concerns”.

Good news for fourleggeds, twoleggeds and our feathered friends; resistance is fertile. 


(Here’s the links)




Savouring sublime nature experiences in the wicklow mountains, facilitated by @ciarahinksman and colleagues

I’ve had some savagely sublime nature experiences over the years.

Dolphins setting off laser trails of  phosphorescence while sailing on the good ship Gwalarn off the coast of Indonesia.

Rain turning to snow, up on the shoulder of Mullaghcleevaun.

A golden eagle swooping just over my head in Glenveagh National Park.

Going ‘into the wild’ is a cliched rite of passage at various times in our lives for good reasons.

So, when the opportunity came up for one of us here @savewicklowmtns HQ to be in the forest for two entire days at an Earthforce Education camp at Castleruddery Organic Farm near Donard, we jumped.

The result of this jump was muck everywhere and a smell of woodsmoke. Thrilled. By helping making fires. By making a hut. By hiding in a hole. By firing arrows. By making wooden objects. By being outside for so long on a winter’s day. By not being afraid of getting wet. By learning. By sharing.  By realising you are not the only one.

Keep up the top notch and pioneering work @ciarahinksman and colleagues.

More at http://www.earthforceeducation.com







Saving, and Savouring, on a Wicklow Mountain blog

So Gaeltech has not appealed the Council’s decision to An Bord Pleanala, and can’t do so now as time has run out. 

So this particular wind farm is not to be. 

This is a wise County Council decision.

However, it presents an existential question for this blog: to be or not to be.

After much deliberation here at @savewicklowmtns HQ, we’ve decided to stay online, and widen to include other topics. 

There’s a clear need for a Wicklow mountain blog. 

There still exists a need to *save* four leggeds, two leggeds and winged denizens from threats. For example, the Council’s zoning for wind farms in the 2010 development plan still allows for wind farms in this neck of the woods. This will be the subject of a future post. 

There also are many reasons to savour this place. 

So we’re going to do a slight redesign and stay online … 

saving, and savouring, the Wicklow mountains. Stay tuned. 

Take me home, country roads. 





New @eirgrid pylon route goes by proposed site for Butter Mountain wind farm #pylon #grid25 #eirgrid #jointhedots

The second wave of pylon routes for Eirgrid, north from Kilcullen, were recently exposed in the Sunday Independent by Joanna Kiernan and Jerome Reilly.  Nice journalistic work.

According to the map, the righthand route, which goes to Carrickmines, also goes right by the proposed Butter Mountain wind farm site.

There was no details of the grid connection in the planning application, just that it would be Eirgrid.


This is all part of a wider story, seen on Prime Time last night http://www.rte.ie/news/player/prime-time/

Joanna Kiernan and Jerome Reilly’s article is here shar.es/9ysL4