Sinn Féin TD for Meath West, Peadar Tóibín TD has criticised Fianna Fáil for rejecting the Sinn Féin Wind Turbine Bill last night.
The Bill sought to ensure that community consultation was integral to the development of wind energy and proposed measures including minimum setback distances and optional co-ownership for local residents.
While at national level modest protections such as this safeguarding local communities are being rejected, locally both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael councillors in areas across the state are rejecting the development of any wind turbines at all in their locality.
Deputy Tóibín said:
'Last night, the Sinn Féin Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2016 was brought to the Dáil whose purpose was to protect rural communities and to give them a voice as regards the development of wind farms in their locality.
'The Bill was to put a legal framework for wind farm development by the proposal of setback distance of ten times the height of the turbine, along with provisions to protect against noise and shadow flicker. The Bill also allowed for both optional community ownership and greater consultation.
'The Bill was rejected by both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael last night. These modest protections for local communities are being rejected at a national level - while in local councils across the state Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael councillors are actually rejecting proposals for the development of wind turbines at all. This opposition to wind turbines locally is flying in the face of their TDs who argued last night that having minimum setback distances would hamper the development of renewable energy in Ireland.
'We have seen how greatly rural communities have suffered and continue to suffer because of a lack of consultation and legislation in the erection of these turbines. What is especially galling is that Fianna Fáil and the government did not object to a similar bill when it was initially tabled 2014 by Sinn Féin. This Bill was allowed to progress unopposed until it withered in committee.
'There is a dire need for a firm legal framework for wind farm development to safeguard our rural regions and the two-faced hypocrisy of both Fianna Fáil and the government are making this impossible.'