Eirgrid could face stiff opposition to aspects of its €1bn project to import electricity from France, after announcing its preferred site in Co Cork for a major electrical converter station.
The company has also finally identified its preferred sites for landfall of a submarine cable from France and the converter station, both of which will form part of a project to secure Ireland's energy needs into the future.
Eirgrid, which is to undertake a number of public consultations over the next two weeks on the Celtic Interconnector project, is likely to face opposition on the preferred site for its converter station close to the village of Knockraha.
The company has said that Claycastle Beach, just 2.7km west of Youghal, is "the best-performing landfall option for the cable".
Originally Eirgrid looked at a number of sites in Wexford and Cork, but decided it was economically more viable to whittle that number down to just three on the Cork coast.
These were Redbarn and Claycastle beaches in Youghal, and Ballinwilling Strand, near Garryvoe.
Eirgrid also looked at six sites in Co Cork for the converter station, which is required because the French will transmit high voltage direct current (DC), which will then be converted into alternating current (AC) at the station.
The number of sites for this has been shortened to three - Kilquane, which is emerging as the best-performing option, a site at the village of Knockraha, and Ballyadam - the site close to Carrigtwohill which was once earmarked for the biotech giant Amgen.
Eirgrid said its engineers were concerned about a number of underground caverns that existed in the Ballyadam area.
The choice of Kilquane, which is 2km north of the village of Knockraha is likely to prove very controversial as locals believe it encompasses an area where many captured British soldiers were executed by the IRA during the War of Independence and they do not want their graves disturbed.
The site, in an area of forest, known locally as ‘The Rae’, and the nearby Kilquane Graveyard were used during the War of Independence as a prison and burial ground for captured British soldiers.
Gerard Murphy, a local historian, wrote in his book 'The Year of The Disappearances' that up to 30 executed British solders were secretly buried in the forest Eirgrid has shortlisted.
They were executed by an IRA unit led by Martin Corry, who later became a TD.
Eirgrid is now to enter into a new round of public consultations.
The first of these will take place in Knockraha Community Centre next Monday from 4pm to 9pm.
The other meetings will be in Carrigtwohill Community Hall on Tuesday, November 19 from 4 pm to 8 pm; Midleton Park Hotel on Friday, November 22 from 4 pm to 8 pm; Midleton Park Hotel on Saturday, November 23 from 12 pm to 5 pm; Walter Raleigh Hotel, Youghal on Wednesday November 27 from 12 pm to 8 pm; Castlemartyr Resort on Thursday, November 28 from 4 pm to 8 pm, and Killeagh Community Centre on Friday November 29 from 4 pm to 8 pm.