Ratheniska residents step up campaign

Eirgrid have told Ratheniska residents that they will not be informing local people what land they want to buy for the proposed electricity substation.

Eirgrid have told Ratheniska residents that they will not be informing local people what land they want to buy for the proposed electricity substation.

The Ratheniska Residents Action Group claim that staff from the electricity company had preivously told them that they would know by the end of last year where land will be bought. However, the group claim they were told by-email last week by email that they will not know the location of the substation until the land is bought by Eirgrid.

“They said they were afraid of intimidation by the group” said Ratheniska spokeperson Colm Fingleton. “People keep asking us but we have no information to give. We asked them would they meet people and they said no. They haven’t moved since day one”.

Residents from village and surrounding areas have sent over 1,200 letters to the planning department of Laois County Council, objecting to the proposed substation. Hundreds of families sent personalised letters. According to the action group, everybody in the area is supportive. The action group have met General Election candidates and party leaders, Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore, urging them to stop the building of the substation in Ratheniska.

The action group say they are frustrated at the lack of communication with Eirgrid over the past year.

“We are not happy with how we’ve been treated” said Mr Fingleton. “The Strategic Infrastructure Act is taking away all our power”, he added.

The group attended last week’s IFA meeting and spoke in front of nine candidates and farmers. “There are 60 odd farms inside the planning zone. All the TD’s and candidates are familiar with it and they are supportive of the group,” he said.

Mr Fingleton told the Leinster Express that the action group plans to meet the new energy Minister as soon as possible.

“We are asking them to look at the Grid 25 plan and the power it supplies. Demand has gone down between 15% and 20%”, he said.”They have to take a step back and see what they are doing.”

The group has also requested meetings with the Laois County Council county manager and with the head of the planning department, but are still waiting on a reply. The action group have a page on Facebook with information and updates for anyone who is interested in finding out more about the campaign.