Laois action group tells Eirgrid it will escalate action

The Ratheniska Timahoe Spink (RTS) Substation Action Group has told Eirgrid that it will escalate its campaign, and will not allow the operators of the national grid access to the proposed site for a new substation in Co. Laois.

It will also attempt to prevent Eirgrid and the ESB from accessing the 400kV and 110kV power lines already in the area, citing concerns over how the planned project will affect an underground water source.

“We will not let Eirgrid or ESB in, and we have stated to them very clearly that this project is dead,” said a spokesperson for the group.

Yesterday, Thursday, November 29, members of the group met with Mark Foley, CEO of Eirgrid, to discuss the latter’s plans for an energy hub, accompanied by 17 power lines. 

The meeting, in Portlaoise, was chaired by Fianna Fail TD Sean Fleming, and came about after 160 days of action by the RTS group at the proposed site for the substation.

The group claims that there are a number of issues and risks involved in the project.

“We have been telling Eirgrid and the authorities for years of the serious risk posed to the vulnerable aquifer underneath the proposed site,” said the group’s spokesperson.

This natural water source provides water to over 10,000 residents in Laois, and the presence of a very large tonnage of oil in the substation would present a clear and present danger to that supply.

“High voltage substations are a high fire risk, and the results of such an incident would permanently damage our water.”

The group also made the claim that the information provided by Eirgrid to An Bord Pleanala in applying for planning permission was “in our opinion, deception on a huge scale”.

The spokesperson said the public was led to believe that the project entailed infrastructure that would merely transfer power from an existing line to another location.

“Eirgrid had every opportunity to progress a project which satisfies the identified need but have failed to do so,” concluded the spokesperson.