Thursday protest over power substation

A PUBLIC protest is set to be mounted in Portlaoise this week against Eirgrid’s plan for a electricity substation and Laois County Council’s u-turn on a move which could have halted the project.

A PUBLIC protest is set to be mounted in Portlaoise this week against Eirgrid’s plan for a electricity substation and Laois County Council’s u-turn on a move which could have halted the project.

Members of the Ratheniska, Timahoe and Spink (RTS) Substation Action Group say they will protest outside county hall in Portlaoise on Thursday, May 10 at 11am to try get a meeting with Laois County Council’s most senior official - the county manager Mr Peter Carey.

Group spokesman, Colm Fingleton said the group want answers from Mr Carey on legal advice given to the council over a proposed ban on giant 400 kv pylons needed for the substation earmarked for Ratheniska.

The council adopted, but later dropped a ban on such pylons, from the Laois County Development Plan because of legal advice which has never been published. The decision was taken in private, but Eirgrid had publicly threatened legal action over the ban.

Mr Fingleton said Mr Carey had met the community just once and has since declined several requests for meetings. Mr Fingleton said the action group wants to know more details about the legal advice, who gave it and whether any second opinion was sought.

Mr Fingleton said the community felt isolated ahead of a Bord Pleanala hearing on the project.

“It is not good enough for officials, councillors or anybody else in Laois County Council to leave us fend for ourselves ahead of a Bord Pleanala hearing when all we are doing is to try to stop Laois from being destroyed by power lines. It appears as if Eirgrid are being given carte blanche,” he said.

Eirgrid have said the substation is needed to improve the power supply to Kilkenny but that it is not linked to the Gridlink project linking Cork and Kildare.