The Government said a new network of pylons must comply with health and safety standards amid concerns over “monster” structures which are set to be erected in the middle of communities.
Appeals were made to the Coalition yesterday to allow underground electricity lines be built as part of an upgrade of hundreds of kilometres of lines across the south and east.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore defended the project, which is being led by Eirgrid, but said the Coalition could not intervene with the decision about where the pylon sites would be.
A closing date of Nov 26 is set for submissions on the plan to erect high voltage lines across Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny, and Kildare.
Independent TD Seamus Healy yesterday told the Dáil there was huge concern, frustration, and anger at the Grid25 proposal.
Protests such as one at the weekend in the Comeragh mountains between Waterford and Kilkenny have seen thousands rally against the pylon plans, including legendary cyclist Seán Kelly.
The proposed pylons would be 45m high and amount to 750 “monster” structures along a 250km route, warned the Tipperary South TD. “This infrastructure will blight the landscape for locals and visitors alike and will destroy our tourism industry.”
He asked why consideration could not be given to putting the lines underground, as in Denmark.
Labour leader Mr Gilmore said the Grid25 project would take several years to complete and represent an investment of €3.2bn.
Its absence was costing economies and consumers €30m a year, he said.
A key issue was EirGrid should adhere to the highest international standards of safety, health, environmental, and visual impact, he said. The Government had no role in this, he added.
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