Planning permission has been granted for a wind farm in an area of Co Offaly where ten turbines were blocked by An Bord Pleanála last year.

Galetech Energy Developments Cloghan Ltd has been granted approval, subject to conditions, for nine turbines with a maximum tip height of 150 metres in Cloghan, Co Offaly.

Last December Galetech's application to erect ten turbines with a maximum tip height of 170 metres in the same area was refused by An Bord Pleanála, who deemed the proposed development "excessively dominant" and "visually obtrusive."

The latest conditionally approved application, which included a Nature Impact Statement and an Environmental Impact Statement, permits the turbines for a period of ten years at Stonestown, Kilcamin, Crancreagh and Derrinlough in Cloghan, where last year's planned turbines were refused.

Offaly Wind Energy Information Group's Damien Buckley was horrified at the decision.

"We are very much voiceless because of the size of our community, but do we matter less than someone in Ballsbridge or Leinster House?" he asked.

Mr Buckley was furious with Offaly County Council, who he claimed had failed to heed An Bord Pleanála's previous decision.

He is now concerned the proposed development could open the floodgates for other wind turbine projects.

Mr Buckley said he is not against renewable energy, but he believes the current planning system "is designed to break a community financially."

He explained that a sizeable sum was spent in order to successfully lodge objections last year.

Despite the cost, Mr Buckley insisted "we will fight it like we did the last time."

Local Independent Councillor John Leahy said he had received a number of calls from concerned residents.

He too expressed concern that the planning process can be expensive for communities.

Agnes Doolan, who hired a planning consultant to assist with her objection to the previous project, also expressed disappointed with the decision.

"I have great sympathy for the people in Stonestown and the greater Cloghan area," she remarked.