Pylon plan consultation dismissed as a ‘failure’

EirGrid has been urged to extend the public consultation process for its €500m Grid Link project following criticisms that the public were not adequately informed of the plans

The controversial project will see the construction of some 750 high-voltage electricity pylons between 45m and 60m high on a corridor between Cork and Kildare via Wexford.

Thousands of people in the areas affected have expressed their staunch opposition to the pylons and have called on Eirgrid to put the lines underground.

The Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications heard a series of criticisms concerning the lack of a proper public consultation process on the project which is due to conclude at the end of the month.

Cian Moloney of Action D9 said people right across the affected parts of Wexford had no idea of the plans until recently.

“I can tell you that landowners the length and breadth of the routes in Wexford and New Ross had no idea this was happening. Eirgrid offered just six hours a week in an office on a side street in New Ross and some ads in the local papers. They refused to attend public meetings with us,” he said.

Owen Bannigan of the Co Monaghan Anti-Pylon Group said the public consultation process was “about ticking the necessary boxes” rather than taking on board the concerns of the public.

“The consultation is a total failure but they mean it to be. It’s about ticking the necessary boxes to take a planning application forward,” he said.

Following the meeting, the committee agreed to write to EirGrid to request that the current round of public consultation on the Grid Link project, which has a closing date for submissions of 26 Nov, be extended until the end of the year.

Chairman of the committee John O’Mahony said the committee would raise the concerns directly with EirGrid when it meets the company on Dec 4.

In response to criticisms of the consultation process, director of grid development at Eirgrid John Fitzgerald said the company had carried out an “extensive” public consultation process.

“We are very aware of the concerns that people have, and are committed to doing everything possible to address and allay them. That is why we are conducting such an extensive information and consultation process for all these projects, with up to five rounds of public consultation as we seek to determine what is the optimum route for these new power lines,” he said.


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