Protests pile pressure on Ryan

03 February 2008

Energy minister Eamon Ryan has found himself caught up in a bitter row, as pressure grows to put pylons underground, writes Niamh Connolly, Political Reporter.

A ‘blitz’ of ten underage teams organised by Meath County GAA will gather today at an all-weather pitch in Dunganny to protest against national grid operator, EirGrid’s high power electric lines in the region.

A growing campaign against the power lines and pylons running from the Republic to the North was boosted last week when the Meath County Board of the GAA joined a chorus of opinion pitted against the state company.

At least 19 clubs in county Meath have playing facilities directly under one of the proposed pylon routes, according to the campaign group North East Pylon Pressure.



I have noted--via google--that you have already posted the main part of this major pylon story carried in today's THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST. However, you may not have posted the paper's front page article, on same issue, so I am forwarding it to you now.

It's a great moral boost for us, that so many in Ireland are becoming increasingly aware of--and supportive of-our health issue, EHS.

Related to this controversy: Last Thursday night
(January 31), RTE 1 (RTE=Radio Tel. Eireann) on its "Prime Time" programme, featured a very good exposure on how people are affected by electromagnetic radiation. The programme can be downloaded from RTE 1 archives.

Best, Imelda, Cork


FEBRUARY 3, 2008


[by] Niamh Connolly, Political Reporter

Transport minister Noel Dempsey has intervened in a controversial pylon dispute by calling on EirGrid to re-route the high voltage lines underground along the new M3 motorway in Meath.

Dempsey, whose constituency is in Meath West, got advice from the National Roads Authority, on the option of the underground route - a move that EirGrid claims could cost up to €1.8 billion, ten times the current cost of the project.

Local opposition is growing to the overhead pylon routes planned by EirGrid, the state company charged with upgrading the country's grid to increase security of electricity supply.

In an unusual move, Dempsey also asked Green Party energy minister Eamon Ryan to consider funding an independent assessment of the cost of putting the power lines underground.

The energy minister has agreed to consider this. The new twist to the controversy over power lines came after Dempsey sought the advice of National Roads Authority (NRA) chief executive Fred Barry on the feasibility of re-routing the cables underground on the path of theM3 motorway, close to the Hill of Tara.

Communities and local politicians in Meath and Cavan are resisting the two 400 kV power lines, that will run for 58 kilometres from Woodland, Co Meath, to Kingscourt in Cavan, and 80 kilometres from Cavan to Tyrone.

If the power lines were to go underground, EirGrid estimates the project would be six to ten times more costly than the current € 180 million cost. It could also set a precedent for the planned nationwide grid upgrade, driving costs up to a potential € 6 billion from € 650 million.

In a letter last week, Barry told Dempsey that "should EirGrid decide to formally propose laying their cables along the M3, we will endeavour to facilitate their requirements, subject - as you suggest - to suitable indemnities regarding damage, disruption, costs etc."

While not ruling out the proposal, Barry said that if placing the cables on a public road network was required, "it may be preferable to utilise the existing N3 route". He cautioned that since the M3 is subject to a 35-year concession contract, any agreement with EirGrid would require agreement with the public-private partnership company involved and would be "unlikely to be a straightforward manner."

"The costs of the various indemnities that would be required are likely to be significant and may pose difficulties for EirGrid, in the event that they wished to advance this proposal," Barry said.

In a statement to The Sunday Business Post this weekend, Dempsey said: "As a result of representations made to me by constituents on this issue, I had a number of meetings with EirGrid and requested them to fully examine the option of putting the power lines underground. EirGrid have indicated to me that all options will now be considered in the preparation of their formal planning application." EirGrid will outline its case at an Oireachtas Committee on energy on Wednesday.


PAGE 11, entire. Three large graphics. One caption reads: "A growing campaign is mounting against power lines and pylons running from the Republic to the North, with energy minister Eamon Ryan facing some tough decisions in the months ahead"




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