Carrigtwohill still in the running for Eirgrid electric converter site

Eirgrid is re-examining the possibility of building a massive electric converter, which will form part of a €1bn interconnector project with France, on a site in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork once earmarked for Amgen.
Carrigtwohill still in the running for Eirgrid electric converter site
The vacant Amgen site in Carrigtwohill Picture: Eddie O'Hare
The vacant Amgen site in Carrigtwohill Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Eirgrid is re-examining the possibility of building a massive electric converter, which will form part of a €1bn interconnector project with France, on a site in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork once earmarked for Amgen.

Eirgrid has confirmed that it is looking again at the Ballyadam site, on the side of the main Cork-Waterford road where Amgen once intended to build a massive plant employing 1,100 people.

Eirgrid is also looking at a site in the nearby village of Knockraha, but has faced stiff opposition from an environmental group based there. The final decision will be made later this year.

Knockraha Environmental Group is anxious the massive plant is not built on the outskirts of their village as a site potentially earmarked for it is believed to be the burial place of dozens of people who died during the War of Independence.

During the War of Independence, the local IRA unit led by Captain Martin Corry captured a number of British soldiers and informants who they later executed and secretly buried at the site. Some historians have speculated there could be up to 80 bodies buried there.

Some months ago the group took senior Eirgrid officials on a walk in the area and presented them with historical evidence about the site.

Eirgrid has admitted that during its rounds of public consultation people have said their preferred site for the converter is Ballyadam.

So, too, have a number of county councillors. Eirgrid initially said it was concerned about that site because it had a number of large underground caverns but has now said it will carry  out "more focussed site investigations" over the coming months".

It wants to build a submarine cable between north-west France and Ireland to import electricity and secure its power needs into the future. It has already decided that the cable will make landfall at Claycastle, Youghal.

The company needs to build an electrical converter station as part of the project because the French use direct current (DC), while we use alternating current (AC).

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