Eirgrid oral hearing gets underway

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A three day public hearing began yesterday on Eirgrid’s plans to build a substation in Ratheniska, connected to Kilkenny by new overhead lines.

A three day public hearing began yesterday on Eirgrid’s plans to build a substation in Ratheniska, connected to Kilkenny by new overhead lines.

The oral hearing is being conducted by An Bord Pleanála, who are considering an application by the semi-state company to build a station at Coolnabacky, connected to Portlaoise, Athy andKilkenny.

Before the hearing got underway in the Killeshin Hotel, concerned resident Peter Sweetman challenged its legality, as Bord Pleanala accepted the application without an Environmental Impact Statement, only requesting it afterwards.

Eirgrid’s barrister Jarleth Fitzsimons said there was ‘absolutely no irregularity’.

Eirgrid will pitchtheir plans up to lunchtime today.

Then Laois and Kilkenny County councils will have their say on the project, as well as bodies such as Inland Fisheries and An Taisce.

Senator John Whelan, Dep Sean Fleming and Cllrs James Deegan and Padraig Fleming will voice objections today and tomorrow, as well as RTS substation action group and local residents.

Dep Fleming wants the substation put in Tipperary, upgradingthe one at Ikerrin.

“It would be straightforward to bring lines to Kilkenny from there. There should be some underground lines in the vicinity o f the substation, or it will look like the spokes of a wheel,” he said.