Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 January 2018

Big crowd due at Trim rally against EirGrid pylon plan

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Hundreds of concerned rural dwellers are expected to attend a rally in Kells, Co Meath, tonight in a show of opposition to EirGrid's plans to erect more than 1,500 pylons across Ireland.

The meeting, which is being called a 'Monster Wake Up Meeting' is the first attempt to co-ordinate a national awareness campaign about EirGrid's proposal to run 400,000-volt electrical cables across the country via pylons.

The meeting is being hosted by the North East Pylon Pressure (NEPP) group, which has been fighting Eirgrid's Meath-Tyrone project since 2008.

The Meath-Tyrone line would see 140km of high voltage cabling carried through counties Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Armagh and Tyrone by 410 pylons.

Michael Keane, spokesman for the NEPP group said a large crowd was expected at the Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim tonight.

"We're expecting several hundred from our own area and we've had contact from similar groups nationwide," he told the Farming Independent.

"There are busloads of people coming from Wexford and Mayo and we expect a good contingent to travel from the areas affected by the Cork-Kildare route."

Under EirGrid's plans, the Grid West project will see 100km of cabling and 300 pylons erected in counties Mayo, Galway, Roscommon, Sligo and Leitrim, while the Laois-Kilkenny route will consist of 26km of cabling and 80 pylons.

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The Grid Link project is the biggest project of all, consisting of 250km of high-voltage line and 750 pylons. Several routes have been proposed, affecting counties Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Laois, Carlow, Wicklow, Kildare and Dublin.

More than 200 people attended meetings in Cahir and Burncourt in Co Tipperary last week to express their opposition to the Grid Link project.

With a deadline date of November 26 for submissions from the public, thousands of concerned people in the region are being urged to voice their opposition.

Speaking at the meeting in Cahir, Co Tipperary, Independent TD Mattie McGrath accused EirGrid of trying to 'divide and conquer' the people of rural Ireland by setting locals on three possible routes against each other.

"We will not allow big business to run riot and ruin our countryside," he insisted.

"We are not against electricity but we will not allow our rural areas to be destroyed so that wind energy can be exported to Britain.

"These pylons are being put up to carry electricity that will be exported from Ireland to Britain, not to be used domestically."

"We want the lines to be put underground, it is the safest place for it, not up on huge pylons that would blight our countryside and affect our flora and fauna," he told the meeting.

The NEPP claims that properties within 100m of power lines are devalued by 35-40pc, while land with easements for overhead lines lose 15-30pc of their value.

Despite potential payments of €22,000 per pylon on offer from EirGrid, the group also insists that 97pc of landowners on the Meath-Tyrone line are against pylons and overhead lines and in favour of running cables underground.

Irish Independent