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€500m plan to link electricity supplies between Kildare and Munster unveiled by EirGrid

A €500m plan to link electricity supplies between Kildare and Munster has been unveiled.

The high voltage corridor, most likely overhead and covering at least 250km with pylons every 4km, is being promoted by energy infrastructure company EirGrid.

The proposed lines look set to go through Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow after gaps in capacity were identified in the south and east of the country.

EirGrid, which has already faced massive opposition to high voltage lines running to the border through Co Meath, said it favours a 400kV alternating current overhead line linking Cork and Kildare via Wexford.

The public are being asked to give their views on the proposed link from now until the start of June.

Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, said it will provide a secure, long-term electricity supply for homes and businesses in the south and east.

"The grid link project will reinforce the electricity grid and have direct economic benefits for our local communities. I encourage people to engage in the public consultation and provide feedback to EirGrid," he said.

EirGrid said it had carried out a detailed analysis of the national transmission grid to identify where the infrastructure needs to be improved to ensure a secure electricity supply.

Dermot Byrne, chief executive of EirGrid, said the south-east link was vital.

"The project will help enable Ireland to shift from a heavy reliance on imported fossil fuels to more sustainable sources of energy," he said.

"It will also help ensure that the most efficient electricity generators in the south and east are utilised in the most effective way."

Harold Kingston, IFA national environment and rural affairs chairman, warned of the need to avoid development problems of the past.

"The planned grid development by EirGrid will cause significant disturbance for the many farmers along the route in the counties affected," he said.

"It is essential that lessons are learned from the recent problems in the Midlands.

"Particular attention must be paid to the concerns of farmers at route selection stage and all options in the planning phase must be considered."