Sinn Fein MEP Liadh Ní Riada has met with community groups in Cork to discuss their concerns around plans for the erection of solar panels in the area.
The Ireland South MEP said that while the development of renewable energy was a crucial priority for the future the concerns of local residents must always be listened to.
“I was very happy to meet with local groups to hear their concerns about the plans for solar paneling,” she said.
“It’s important to point out that none of the people involved are against the development of solar panelling themselves and recognised the importance of the need to develop renewable energy infrastructure in Ireland, they merely had a number of concerns about the proposed placement of the panel in regards to things like proximity to their homes and the suitability of the surrounding roads to handle the increased traffic and the type of machinery that would be required to build and maintain these stations.
“Their concerns are completely reasonable and must be heeded by planners; for their own sake as well as that of the residents, after all, nobody knows these areas better than the people who live there.
“Unfortunately the main reason issues like this continue to arise is because the Government still has yet to bring forward any legislation on the placement of these installations.
“It’s typical of the half-baked approach of the Government that they purport to be in favour of developing means of generating renewable energy yet do nothing to make that a reality.
“Clear and sensible legislation on where these installations can be put, how big they can be and what sort of protections are required for the environment and local people would not only reassure residents but also save the companies involved a huge amount of time and trouble.
“Renewable energy infrastructure is crucial for the future of the country but so is the peace of mind of people in areas where it is to be built. There is no reason these two goals must be mutually exclusive.
“I would urge the Government, if they are serious about the need for renewable energy and serious about protecting rural Ireland, to begin drafting legislation on these installations immediately.”