Buddhist retreat centre among objectors to planned Clare wind farm

Commercial semi-state agency AirNav Ireland and Shannon Airport also objecting to proposed development

Plans to construct an 11-turbine 72MW wind farm in the 12 O’Clock Hills in east Clare pose a significant threat to “a peaceful haven” at a silent Buddhist retreat centre, objectors claim.

Ørsted Onshore Ireland Midco Ltd lodged plans direct to An Bord Pleanála earlier this year for the 11-turbine 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.

The objection states that the Sunyata Buddhist Centre is renowned nationally and internationally for hosting retreats that attract thousands annually. It states 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 states 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 semistate agency AirNav Ireland and Shannon Airport are also objecting.

A spokeswoman for Ørsted said: “Ørsted 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 said that in relation to the Oatfield wind farm, Ørsted 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 spokeswoman added that the project will provide a community benefit fund for the nearby community where for every megawatt hour the wind farm produces €2 is contributed to the fund. She said that, for example, a 50MW project would provide approximately €280,000 per annum to the community benefit fund.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times