Wind Refugees



Newstalk FM reported (after an airing of the Pat Kenny Show) that:


“A government minister has not ruled out moving people away from areas where wind farms may be built.

Energy Minister Alex White says: “That has happened in other countries – I’ve seen that happening in other countries”.”


I have been researching the basis for the Minister’s claim (for a day now) but I have been unable to find any examples of other countries forcibly moving citizens to make way for wind farms in particular. There are many examples of people being forced from their homes due to the proximity of wind farms, but these were a consequence of wind farms, rather than in anticipation of wind farms. In addition, it was not a government-sponsored or sanctioned relocation, but rather a question of people fleeing from the health hazards posed by infrasound, flicker and habitat contamination, for example.


My research did uncover other examples of state sanctioned relocation of people living in the country (or culchies, as we are known in Ireland):


Kulaks were a group of relatively affluent farmers in the early Soviet Union, primarily during the reign of Josef Stalin. Resettlement of people officially designated as kulaks continued until early 1950. Large numbers of kulaks, regardless of their nationality, were resettled to Siberia and Central Asia. According to data from Soviet archives, which were published in 1990, 1,803,392 people were sent to labour colonies and camps in 1930 and 1931. Books say that 1,317,022 reached the destination. The reported number of kulaks and their relatives who had died in labour colonies from 1932 to 1940 was 389,521, but it is accepted that the official figures only reflect a small proportion of those who actually died, whose numbers would run into many millions.

(See Rosefielde, Steven (2009). Red Holocaust. Routledge. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-415-77757-5.)



From 1960 to 1983, the apartheid government in South Africa forcibly moved 3.5 million black South Africans in one of the largest mass removals of people in modern history. During the 1950s and 1960s, large-scale removals of people of colour were carried out to implement the Group Areas Act, which mandated residential segregation throughout the country. More than 860,000 people were forced to move in order to divide and control racially-separate communities. Black South Africans were forcibly removed to distant segregated townships, sometimes 30 kilometers (19 miles) from places of employment in the central cities. Black South-African farm labourers made up the largest number of forcibly removed people. While this process has happened in many other countries, in South Africa these rural residents were not permitted to move to towns to find new jobs. Instead, they were segregated into desperately poor and overcrowded rural areas where there were no job prospects. Removals were an essential tool of the apartheid government’s Bantustan (or homeland) policy aimed at stripping all black South Africans of any political rights as well as their citizenship in South Africa. Hundreds of thousands of black South Africans were moved to resettlement camps in the bantustans with no services or jobs. These were dumping grounds for black South Africans who were “superfluous to the labour market,” as a 1967 government circular called them.

See Cherrly Walker and Laurine Platzkey The Surplus People: Forced Removals in South Africa” Johannesburg: Ravan Press (1980).

apartheid resettlement

Closer to home, the Highland Clearances were the forced displacement during the 18th and 19th centuries of a significant number of people from traditional land tenancies in the highlands of Scotland. These farmers practiced small-scale agriculture, which was incompatible with the wishes of the aristocratic landowners, (supported by Westminster), to change from farming to sheep raising (and grazing). A Highland Clearance has been defined as “an enforced simultaneous eviction of all families living in a given area such as an entire glen.”

Watson, A. and Allan, E., “Depopulation by clearances and non-enforced emigration in the north-east Highlands”, Northern Scotland 10 (1990), Edinburgh University Press



 There are many other historical examples of people living in the country being displaced from their homes in furtherance of some misguided government policy, but these three examples will suffice.


Perhaps Minister White could tell us whether these were the countries he was referring to, or did he have others in mind? Or will this be another “first” for Ireland?


The other question that Minister White needs to answer is that if wind farms are not injurious to our health, as he has consistently claimed, then why is it necessary to move people at all?

About Neil van Dokkum

Neil van Dokkum (B. SocSc; LLB; LLM; PGC Con.Lit) Neil is a law lecturer and has been so since arriving in Ireland from South Africa in 2002. Prior to that Neil worked in a leading firm of solicitors from 1987-1992, before being admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa (a barrister) in 1992. He published three books in South Africa on employment law and unfair dismissal, as well as being published in numerous national and international peer-reviewed journals. Neil currently specialises in employment law, medical negligence law, family law and child protection law. He dabbles in EU law (procurement and energy). Neil retired from full-time practice in 2002 to take up a lecturing post. He has published three books since then, “Nursing Law for Irish Students (2005); “Evidence” (2007); and “Nursing Law for Students in Ireland” (2011). His current interest is the area of disability as a politico-economic construct. Neil is very happily married to Fiona, and they have two sons, Rory and Ian.
This entry was posted in Democracy; Ireland; Fine Gael; Labour; Sinn Fein; Workers; Constitution, EU Renewable Energy 2020 Target, NREAP; National Renewable Energy Action Plan; EU Commission; Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee; ACCC, Paudie Coffey; series compensation; Fine Gael; Alan Kelly; Alex White, Refugees; Apartheid; Kulaks; Stalin;, South Africa, wind turbines, developing nations,, Wind Turbine Syndrome; Professor Alun Evans and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Wind Refugees

  1. Our comment, when this was announced, was ‘The Irish Government is selling its rural citizens right down the river.’
    We, too, do not know of any countries which have moved people away. It did put us in mind, however, of The Highland Clearances.

  2. 1957chev says:

    As a woman with a family, living 550m from the closest wind turbine, but surrounded by many more 3 MW wind turbines, reading this makes my blood run cold. The wind turbine project includes 80 huge wind turbines, and we are at “ground central”. The very first one was erected behind our home, in the field of a farmer who conveniently has his own home, much further away.
    The home we have lived in since our son was born, is now devalued, and all the joy has been taken away from us. The project isn’t even running yet. When it does, our lives will change dramatically, I’m sure.
    I have been researching wind turbines since early 2012, as well as going to communities that are already living with these things, and speaking with the neighbours. What they tell me about the effects of the constant, cyclical, noise, and the accompanying operational noises, is horrific. The sound of the wind turbines is very annoying, to the point of being intolerable. I can’t imagine what gives the gov’t and wind industry the right to torture people at will, but no one is stopping them.

    People generally live in rural areas, because they cherish a quiet, peaceful, natural environment.
    The corrupt government has stolen that from us, and it is not helping, but HARMING citizens. It is definitely NOT, for the “greater good”. Energy poverty, and disappearing jobs, especially in manufacturing, helps no one. When will sanity return? I hope before it is too late.

    • Neil van Dokkum says:

      I wish I had a snappy answer but there is none at this time because the government is not listening. I hope that the message is reaching those folks who can influence the government. I wish I had some words of comfort, but I don’t – I’m sorry.

  3. 1957chev says:

    Thank you for caring, Neil. The ones that are in a position to make changes, really don’t care, and that is hard to understand. Greed does terrible things to some people, I suppose. I just keep hoping that something comes along to break this scam wide open. For everyone’s sake!

  4. pattikellar says:

    Reblogged this on Patti Kellar and commented:
    We live in Ontario and we are joining the ranks of wind refugees.

  5. Pingback: Wind Refugees | ajmarciniak

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