05 Jul 2022

Laois localities invited to apply for community fund from EirGrid

Grid operator says it wants to leave 'positive legacy' after contentious development


The State's electricity grid operator Eirgrid has announced the opening of the Laois Kilkenny Community Benefit Fund with an initial €204,600 on offer to community groups.

A statement said the Laois-Kilkenny Community Forum and Community Benefit Fund were established by EirGrid to recognise the important part that local communities play in the development of the electricity grid and will go to benefit groups and projects in these areas.

EirGrid is proposing to reinforce the network in the general Laois-Kilkenny region and plans to achieve this through the development of a new transmission line between the two counties.

The project, which has met with opposition in Laois, will according to Eirgrid address the concerns on the network in the  area and ensure that the system can comply with the grid’s technical standards. It is also claimed that this will also ensure a reliable, high quality standard of electricity supply for the present and future needs of all users.

Eirgrid outlined what areas would be given priority in the application process.

"Communities adjacent to the line in Laois include Coolnabacky, Timahoe, Ratheniska, Spink and Ballinakill and in Kilkenny, include Ballyragget, Ballyouskill and Tinnalinton, with priority given to those areas within 3km from the line," it said.

It outlined what type of projects could benefit.

"Projects or initiatives which show they will provide benefits to these communities are eligible for funding. EirGrid is inviting projects which address and prioritise local needs, including community infrastructure, sporting facilities, younger person support, cultural activities, older person support, environment, and heritage," it said.

EirGrid Chief Infrastructure Officer Michael Mahon explained the reasons for the fund.

“We recognise the vital role that local communities have in facilitating new grid infrastructure and that is why we are committed to ensure communities benefit.

"EirGrid’s aim is to leave a positive legacy in the communities hosting grid infrastructure. I would encourage community groups to work together where there is a potential for collaborative projects which will have a larger impact and lasting benefit to the community," he siad.

The firm which is linked to the ESB says that to ensure decisions on how these funds are distributed in a "transparent, participatory and inclusive manner", a fund support and administration service has been set up and is being operated by independent facilitator M-CO.

Eirgrid says M-CO are experienced in collaborating with communities and organisations to design and deliver projects which the grid operator claim "create vibrant societies". The company add that they have been working closely with the community forum on developing criteria that meets the needs of the local community and will continue to work with organisations throughout the application process.

Eirgrd says the €204,600 available represents 40 percent of the overall fund and opens Tuesday, November 30 at 2pm.

A virtual information meeting will be held on December 7 next and further workshops and one-to-one support sessions will take place in the new year for prospective applicants.

For further information or queries on the fund please visit or contact Avril Wilson on or Marion Weymes on

The Laois dimension of the project has met with stiff opposition in Laois over the building of a large electricity substation in the Ratheniska, Timahoe area. The Ratheniska, Timahoe, Spink Action Group has mounted a long campaign opposing the project first devised more than a decade ago.

They say that the project could lead to the contamination of a underground water source for thousands of people. Eirgrid and the ESB have denied this and have planning permission for the substation which is under construction at a cost of more than €100 million.

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