Fears growing over pylons

FEARS are growing that Ratheniska will be a the heart of Eirgrid’s €500 million electricity power link project which could bring giant pylons into Laois.

FEARS are growing that Ratheniska will be a the heart of Eirgrid’s €500 million electricity power link project which could bring giant pylons into Laois.

The proposed substation could hold up to 13 bays even though the company has stated that these will not all be used.

However, last week’s announcement about the company’s proposed Grid Link pylon corridor from Cork to Kildare has led locals to believe that Ratheniska could be at the heart of transferring electricity from Cork to Dublin.

“Looking at the map on the website, this line will be coming up from Cork and across Laois. We had our suspicions many months ago when we saw on the energy regulator website that there was a proposed Dublin to Cork 400Kv line, but they denied this,” said John Lowry, chairman of Ratheniska Spink Timahoe Substation Action Group.

“We assume that maybe they will use the Ratheniska substation for this project. There are extra bays proposed for the 400Kv lines, up to 13 of them. They are not putting bays in there just to have them there. They never said anything to us about thjis new project, they just spring it on people and have denied it to everyone all along”.

Mr Lowry said that the company were not being upfront about their plans. “It is a funny set up to generate electricity in Cork to send all the way to Dublin, but then they don’t do logical things. The first I heard of this new project was on the one o’ clock news on the radio last week. They never make any contact with us at all. This affects so many people and will affect an awful lot of people in Laois”.

Laois IFA are also concerned about the effects of the proposed corridor on people in Laois. Laois IFA chairman Pat Hennessy told the Leinster Express that although there is a need to upgrade electricity, Eirgrid must engage meaningfully with householders and land owners on the route.

“There has been no engagement with locals in Ratheniska and Tullamore. That can’t be tolerated for this project, they have to show a bit of responsibility. A job needs to be done but they can’t use their previous system of bulldozing through everyone and sending people to jail like they did in Tullamore,” he said.

Eigrid has started a “non-statutory” public consultation on the project.

“During the first stage of consultation, Eigrid is seeking comment on the proposed study area map feedback on what constraints should be identified, and on how Eirgrid should develop corridors for the project,” said John Lowry, The Grid Link Project Manager.

Launching the Grid Link Project, the Minister for Communictaions, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte said it would provide a long term supply to homes and businesses. Eirgrid’s chief executive Dermot Byrne said the project was “vital”.

The project possible route includes Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow.

During the eight week consultation people can contact the company with any concerns and there will also be a number of open days held over the coming weeks. Visit www.eirgridprojects.com/gridlink for more information on the project.