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Sunday 4 December 2016

Ill couple leave home over pylon fears

EirGrid denies that the high-voltage power line above their garden is linked to cancers, writes Maeve Sheehan

Published 27/03/2016 | 02:30

Leaving home: Paula and Mike Sheridan in the garden of the home that they have now left, with the high-voltage power line running overhead Photo: Barry Cronin
Leaving home: Paula and Mike Sheridan in the garden of the home that they have now left, with the high-voltage power line running overhead Photo: Barry Cronin

A couple who lived beneath a high-voltage power line for three decades have moved out of their home after they were both diagnosed with cancer. They fear that electromagnetic emissions could further damage their health.

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In a submission to a planning hearing on EirGrid's revised plans for a north-south electricity inter-connector, Paula and Mike Sheridan revealed that they felt "compelled" to leave their home in Drumree, Co Meath after she started suffering from recurring growths on her colon.

The Sheridans are now suing the state agency.

In a submission to An Bord Pleanala, the couple, who were both diagnosed with cancers in the past six years, say the 400kv line is 35 metres from their home and traverses their back garden. They say their family is "unique" in Ireland in living in such close proximity to a high-voltage power line for so long and believe their "health history" should be "respected and valued".

In its submission, EirGrid indicated that it had reviewed all the published information and found no scientific support for such health concerns.

The Sheridans moved into the house in 1978, before a pylon was erected. They tried to sell the house but said the power lines deterred potential buyers.

In 2006, Paula contracted shingles. Four years later, Mike was diagnosed with prostate cancer and in 2013, Paula was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer, later requiring another major bowel operation to treat recurring polyps.

They have accused EirGrid of dismissing their health concerns.

"We had made the decision to move out of our home before the operation as we did not feel we were living in a safe environment and we couldn't contemplate trying to recover and continuing to leave ourselves open to the EMF (electro-magnetic field) exposure," they said.

Paula claimed that her shingles pains had cleared and that she continues "to remain polyp-free and pain-free since we left that toxic environment". However, her husband was recently diagnosed with another cancer.

The Sheridans have also questioned why the ESB, which installed the power line, routed it so that it ran past their home and 11 other domestic dwellings, rather across open agricultural land.

In their submission, the Sheridans said they never received "any explanation" for this. They said the high-voltage line follows a straight, unimpeded path across open agricultural land and then changes direction from open ground to run across the bottom of their garden and past 11 other houses.

ESB Networks, which installed the line, has said it has "no record on file" regarding the original decision to route the line past family homes. Last week, it said the line was chosen by ESB's engineers and surveyors and reflected "best practice at the time".

An Bord Pleanala's hearing continues at the Nuremore Hotel in Monaghan.

Sunday Independent

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