EirGrid under the spotlight

Eirgrid’s Grid 25 project came under the spotlight this morning at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Transport and Communication and representatives of community groups who are strongly opposed to the projects.

Chairman of the committee, Mayo Deputy John O Mahony said: “The meeting is an opportunity for the committee to engage with the groups and become aware of their concerns and putting them on public record.”

Speaking to the committee, Peter Smith representing Save County Tipperary Anti-Pylon, noted that its group is in favour of progress but he stressed that “progress must be forward thinking and our anxiety towards the project is absolutely valid”.

Helena Fitzgerald of Save our Heartland raised concerns over the mapping of landscape value in regards to the project. “Critical cultural and historic elements of the landscape have not been identified and assessed properly,” she said. “We believe the Irish Government has failed to comply with the EU landscape convention that Ireland signed up to 11 years ago.”

She questioned the committee as to “how the grid link project can progress to this stage with such fundamental flaws in its mapping of landscape value”.

John Mc Clusker of the Comeragh Action Pylon Group asked: “What is driving the true need of this project? Because it’s not to keep the lights on,” he noted.

He called on the Government to call a halt and an immediate suspension for this project. Mc Clusker also stressed the impact of the project on mental health. “The Irish Government is making Irish citizens pay the mental health price while others in Europe reap the benefits.

Representative of the Monaghan Anti-Pylon Group, May Marron, raised numerous concerns in the Monaghan area regarding the north-south inter connector. She noted the “visual impact of the pylons on a Monaghan drumlin landscape”.

She also claimed that “the pylons are completely out of scale to the relatively small fields and small farm holdings in the area that will lead to a multiplier effect in relation to property devaluation”.

According to Cian Moloney of Action D9 in Wexford: “The public consultation phase of the project has been deeply flawed.” He outlined that “it ought not to be the case that we must justify the concerns of the people”.

He said the project should be costed in its entirety, specifically including the areas such as costs to communities, property devaluation and tourism. He stressed that “there is resounding opposition in Wexford to the project”.

Eirgrid is expected to make a presentation to the Oireachtas Committee on its Grid 25 project on 4 December.

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