PROTESTERS AGAINST A Wicklow-based wind farm were putting themselves in danger in a bid to prevent the laying of cables connected to the development, the High Court heard.
Ballycumber Wind Farm Limited, the developer of the project in Wicklow, has launched court proceedings against the protesters who are interfering with works designed to connect the project to the national electricity grid.
The company has claimed the protesters put themselves in harm’s way of dangerous equipment, including excavation machinery, in order to prevent the laying of cables to connect the six-turbine wind farm to an ESB sub-station at Kilmagig, Co Wicklow.
Ballycumber Wind Farm claimed in court today that if the alleged interference is allowed to continue the firm will suffer serious financial damage of up to €3.1 million.
The firm has sought injunctions to prevent the protesters from impeding, interfering or obstructing works being carried out to link the wind farm with the ESB substation.
The company also sought orders that prevent the defendants from obstructing grid connection works being done on what the company says are public roads.
Barrister Stephen Dowling, for the company, told Justice Charles Meenan that the protesters were believed to be members of the South Wicklow Wind Action Group.
Dowling said that in the last week the contractor the company hired to carry out the works was unable to do so after some people had stood in front of a JCB digger.
Counsel said that communications from the protesters suggested that the works were being carried out on private lands and amounted to a trespass. He said this was disputed and the company is conducting works on public roads only.
Dowling said that the grid connection works are vital to the €31 million wind farm project which is scheduled to start supplying electricity by this December.
The protests put that timeline in jeopardy and important completion deadlines for various stages of the process would be missed, he said.
Permission to serve short notice of the injunction application on the protesters was granted, on an ex-parte basis, by Judge Meenan who made the matter returnable to later this week.