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‘Silent’ Buddhist retreat centre in Clare says new wind farm would disturb ‘peaceful haven’


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Earlier this year, Orsted Onshore Ireland Midco Ltd lodged plans direct to An Bord Pleanála for the 11-turbine, 590ft tip high Oatfield wind farm on a site 9km north of Limerick city and 4.7km from Sixmilebridge.

Now, in response, the 12 O’Clock Hills Community Group, that includes the Sunyata Buddhist Centre, at Snaty, Sixmilebridge, has lodged an objection.

It states that the Sunyata Buddhist Centre is renowned nationally and internationally for hosting retreats that attract thousands annually.

It says that the Buddhist centre serves “as a vital silent retreat centre for mindfulness and meditation, and plays a significant role in the community by providing a tranquil sanctuary for individuals seeking spiritual and personal growth”.

The objection says that “the potential disruption from the proposed wind farm development, through unnatural noise or visual disturbance, poses a significant threat to Sunyata’s ability to offer a peaceful haven”.

The objection adds that “protecting Sunyata’s operations and the serene environment it is part of is crucial to ensuring that it remains unaffected by developments that could compromise its ability to serve as a refuge for growth and self-discovery”.

The objection contends that “for those familiar with the 12 O’ Clock Hills, it is evident that introducing large industrial structures would be in stark contrast to the established development trajectory that values harmony, natural beauty and community wellbeing”. Commercial semi-state agency AirNav Ireland and Shannon airport are also objecting.

A spokeswoman for Orsted said: “Orsted seeks to be good neighbours in the communities in which we develop and operate projects.

“We are committed to respecting the rights of local communities to voice their concerns, and to engage in dialogue,” she added.

She said that in relation to the Oatfield wind farm, Orsted is currently “preparing responses to the themes of the submissions, and this will be provided to An Bord Pleanála in line with the planning process”.

The project will provide a community benefit fund.

The spokeswoman said that, for example, a 50MW project would provide approximately €280,000 per annum to the community fund.

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