Residents re-grouping after new application filed for power plant

Locals protesting over proposals for a gas generating plant in Ballyneety.

A RESIDENTS’ group who fought an initial application to build a gas-fired generator in Ballyneety have said they will re-form to consider a fresh application recently submitted for the project.

A previous application from Kilshane Energy Ltd for the construction of the €150million plant was withdrawn amid widespread complaint in the community, a spokesman for the resident’s group told the Limerick Post.

Locals formed an action group after becoming aware of the application by the Dublin-based company.

At the time of the original application, Kilshane Energy were seeking to build a gas-fired open cycle turbine power generation station in a disused quarry site in the rural townsland of Luddenmore/Inch St Lawrence, which sits just outside the village of Ballyneety.

Suzanne Higgins, spokesperson for the residents’ group, told the Limerick Post that the development was “wholly unsuitable for this area, which is rural and surrounded on all sides by agricultural land, rural schools, and homes”.

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At the time, she said locals were very glad to learn that the application has been withdrawn.

“There was total opposition to it here. We had already mounted a protest campaign to fight it. We sincerely hope now that the project won’t remerge in some other guise here. That site is just not suitable for heavy industry.”

Locals say that if there were to be any kind of use developed on the site, it should be as a nature reserve as it has already largely reverted to its natural state having ceased being used as a quarry 10 years ago.

One thing locals were insisting when the application was live was that a full environmental and ecological survey of the site should be completed prior to any application being considered.

Although powered by fossil fuels, gas-fired power generators emit fewer greenhouse gases than existing coal and other fossil fuel plants.

This week, the group said “after having a successful first objection to this power plant, we have learned that a new application has been lodged by Kilshane Energy for the same type of gas-fired power plant in Ballyneety. We are regrouping as a community to plan our next steps.”

A decision on the latest application from the company is due from the local authority by October 2.