Concerns have been raised over plans for dozens of "enormous" wind turbines off the coast of Dublin.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has accused the Government of letting "developers dictate" the approach to offshore wind farms in Ireland.
Dozens of ‘supersized’ (300-metre high) wind turbines are planned for the Kish Bank in Dublin Bay, running from Booterstown to Bray.
Further arrays are planned for the Irish Sea off Greystones, Arklow and Wexford.
Deputy Boyd Barrett told The Pat Kenny Show he's very much in favour of renewable energy projects - but they have to be done in the right way.
He said: "What I’m not for is a sort of free-for-all in terms of letting developers run amok in the marine environment.
“Don’t get me wrong: we need to develop renewable energy and we need to do so very quickly.
"But there should be proper, designated sites… in the way we do development - when we do it properly - on land.
“The problem is all the big developments for these enormous turbines… the sites have been selected by the developers without any proper environmental impact assessment or any input from the public or stakeholders or experts in marine life.”
He said the "huge structures" will be visible from shore, although acknowledged different people have different views on the visual impact of wind farms.
However, he said it's also a UNESCO-designated biosphere rich with shellfish, marine life and bird life.
He noted that in countries such as the Netherlands no offshore wind turbines are allowed less than around 20km from land.
He warned projects are planned for Ireland on “very sensitive sites” much closer to the shore than that.
Offshore wind farms
The Government says 27 wind farms are currently planned in Irish waters.
They say a new agency called MARA is to be set up to regulate offshore wind developments, while new legislation is intended to give a ‘major overhaul’ to the regulations around the area.
However, Deputy Boyd Barrett says many of the sites in development will be considered ‘legacy’ projects and therefore exempt from a lot of the new rules.
He said: “It is closing the door after the horse has bolted, and that is absolutely wrong.
“We need to develop offshore wind in a way that doesn’t destroy biodiversity in the marine and doesn’t impact our fisherman."
The People Before Profit TD said public consultations around these projects often come years after the licences are actually given to companies.
He added that technology is "well-advanced" to allow wind turbines further off-shore without costing a lot of extra money.