Farmers will be paid for any ESB changes
Any move by the ESB to co-locate telecommunications lines with electricity lines on farmers' lands will be done by negotiation, a spokesperson for the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) confirmed.
In a statement to the Farming Independent, the DCENR said that "wayleave rights" would only be requested in "exceptional and persuasive" cases.
The statement from DCENR followed concerns raised by the ICMSA regarding details carried in the ESB (Electronic Communications Bill) 2013 Bill which is currently going through the Oireachtas.
The ICMSA claimed that provisions of the bill expressly permitted the ESB to provide access to its electricity infrastructure to other companies, without any reference to the farmer or landowner on whose land the ESB's infrastructure was erected.
ICMSA president John Comer pointed out that the inclusion of such provisions could allow the ESB to work as a 'Trojan Horse', where farmers or landowners with ESB installations on their land could see private, profit-making, commercial concerns gaining compulsory access to their land.
However, DCENR pointed out that the wayleave rights proposed in the ESB Bill 2013 were subject to the payment of compensation to landowners where appropriate, as well as the prior consent of the Commission for Energy Regulation.