Cork residents prepared for legal battle over €1bn electricity project

Residents' associations along the proposed route of a high-voltage underground cable, part of the Celtic Interconnector project, are teaming up to oppose its laying close to their homes
Cork residents prepared for legal battle over €1bn electricity project

Churchtown North and Roxborough residents at a protest against the EirGrid Interconnector in the area. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Residents' associations along the proposed route of a high-voltage underground cable are prepared to go to the High Court “or further if necessary” to prevent its laying.

They are along a section of land which will be used by EirGrid to lay underground cables as part of its €1bn Celtic Interconnector project, which will supply Ireland with electricity from France.

Members of the Churchtown North Residents' Committee, who live a few kilometres east of Midleton, Co Cork, say they have been in communication with other residents groups similarly affected to galvanise the same kind of effort as made by the Cork Harbour for a Safe Environment (Chase) against plans by Indaver to build an incinerator in Cork Harbour.

Catherine Douglas with her children. Charlie and Harry, at the protest. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Catherine Douglas with her children. Charlie and Harry, at the protest. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Churchtown North residents' spokesman Mark Douglas said they have been in communication with others on the planned route and will be looking to amalgamate efforts when it comes to joint protests and funding for legal counsel moving forward.

We believe that the only way to get a route change is to attack this on a health and safety issue and to do this legally, in the courts if necessary.

"If EirGrid succeeds [in getting planning permission] with An Bord Pleanála then we are committed to taking this to the High Court and then further if that is necessary. This is the commitment from the residents on this route,” Mr Douglas said.

“We have taken strength from the Chase group who have never given up, which eventually resulted in their win at the High Court,” he said.

Locals are concerned about the possible harmful effects of EMF (electromagnetic field) emissions from the high-voltage cables which will be laid underground near their homes.

“We must make something clear though, we are absolutely in favour of this power line. 

"We totally understand the requirement of having it. 

"But there are viable options that should be used which do not include housing on their routes, which would automatically negate the health issues we are concerned about,” Mr Douglas said.

There have been thousands of studies and research articles into the impact of electromagnetic fields on human health in recent decades, according to the World Health Organisation.

The WHO says it is clear that if electromagnetic fields do have an effect on cancer, then any increase in risk will be extremely small.

It also says current evidence does not confirm the existence of health consequences from exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields but says there are some gaps in knowledge and further research is needed.

The submarine cable supplying the electricity will run from Brittany in Northern France and make landfall in Youghal. 

From there, the cable will be laid underground alongside the main Cork-Waterford road.

However, it will deviate from that at certain points, like Churchtown North, Killeagh and Castlemartyr. 

It will also run through rural communities north from Carrigtwohill to Knockraha, where it will hook up to the national grid.

Churchtown North residents' spokesman Mark Douglas said they have been in communication with others on the planned route and will be looking to amalgamate efforts when it comes to joint protests and funding for legal counsel. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Churchtown North residents' spokesman Mark Douglas said they have been in communication with others on the planned route and will be looking to amalgamate efforts when it comes to joint protests and funding for legal counsel. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The Celtic Interconnector receives co-financing from the EU and in 2019, the European Commission awarded the project more than €530m to support the design and delivery.

The total cost of the project is expected to exceed €1bn.

When finished, it is expected it will power 450,000 households, and help Ireland to switch to 70% renewable energy.

EirGrid and the Government have said the interconnector will help lower electricity prices, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide greater energy security by securing access to the EU energy market.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox

LOTTO RESULTS

Saturday, May 15, 2021

  • 2
  • 8
  • 15
  • 31
  • 37
  • 44
  • 3

Full Lotto draw results »