'Powerline will be a blight on landscape', Rabbitte told

The Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte is to be told by a county council that Eirgrid’s plans for a major overhead powerline will be a blight on the landscape and may lead to serious health and economic implications.

Cork County Council is also seeking information on whether it can make a submission against the plan to An Bord Pleanála.

Cllr Frank O’Flynn (FF) said Eirgrid should be made to bury the proposed 400kv powerline linking Munster with Leinster underground.

“This is a very emotive issue for people living in North and East Cork. Each pylon is as high as a 12-storey building.

“The project could have health impact on humans, cattle, and horses. It will be a blight on our heritage and tourism.”

He said that in the Netherlands all high-voltage cables have to go underground and suggested they be buried along the M8 corridor.

His motion at a meeting in County Hall yesterday was seconded by Cllr Michael Hegarty (FG), who said the landscape of East Cork “will be decimated” by the huge pylons.

Cllr Gerry Kelly (FG) said that many landowners were prepared to give land free of charge to allow Eirgrid bury the cables underground.

He said Eirgrid maintained that the cost of doing this was three times that of erecting overhead cables, but this cost could be significantly reduced if the landowners cooperated.

Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe (FF) said many of the designated spaces were areas of scenic beauty and he didn’t want to see the Blackwater Valley or the River Suir’s beauty damaged.

Cllr Tom Sheahan (FG) said the project had to proceed for the economic good of the country, but added that if the more costly underground option was taken it would fall to already hard-pressed electricity users to pay the price.

Cllr Sean O’Connor (Ind) said in the late 1990s the ESB wanted to run giant pylons from Aghada to Ringaskiddy and this was resisted by the council. In the end the company was forced to lay some of the cables underground. He suggested the same attitude be adopted with Eirgrid.

It was agreed that a letter would be written to Mr Rabbitte. County manager Martin Riordan said he would check if the council could make a submission to An Bord Pleanála.


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