More than 300 ICMSA delegates across Ireland are set for Limerick this morning for its annual meeting.

Top of the agenda is EirGrid, the ESB’s successor as operator of the electricity system, and its €500m plan for several hundred pylons to reinforce the grid connections between Munster and Leinster, running from Knockraha power station in Co Cork to Great I.

EirGrid maintains such reinforcement of the grid is necessary to ensure demand in the southeast can be supplied at all times, regardless of where the power is generated, and to connect “significant levels of new renewable generation” in the south of Ireland to the transmission and distribution network.

AgriLand understands ICMSA members will robustly debate the issue with Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, who will be in attendance.

There is growing concern among ICMSA members regarding EirGrid’s plans, in terms of the potential devaluation of farmland and homes, the impact on the dairy sector and the ‘brand Ireland’ image, and fears about the health effects of exposure to electromagnetic radiation from high-voltage transmission lines.

According to its spokesman, the ICMSA is again calling on a cost-basis analysis for an underground system rather than a pylon-based system. Plyons scattered across munster and some of the best dairy land in the country will cause significant damage to ‘brand Ireland,” stressed Cathal McCarthy.

Also on the agenda is the rollout of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2014-2020, Bord Bia’s new Quality Dairy Scheme, the recent receivership of TLT International. AgriLand will be reporting live from Limerick.

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