Eirgrid station challenged and Anna May is Person of the Year

A public hearing on Eirgrid’s plan to build an electrical substation in Ratheniska went on for six days.

A public hearing on Eirgrid’s plan to build an electrical substation in Ratheniska went on for six days.

Local group RTS substation group challenged Eirgrid’ on many aspects of the plan, including their surveys of groundwater, and the site choice.

Ratheniska mother of two Fand Cooney questioned Eirgrid’s lack of study on the cumulative effect of pylons and turbines. She claimed the project was not in the public interest, but “to facilitate private wind developers”.

Senator John Whelan, Deputy Sean Fleming and Cllrs James Deegan and Padraig Fleming all voiced objections.

Eirgrid admitted they were ‘obliged’ to connect any application to the grid, which they propose to double in size. This would include windfarms.

An Bord Pleanala who ran the hearing, are to make their decision in the new year.

A scheme to complete NAMA-owned houses for councils to rent out to tenants, is three years old, but not one house in Laois has been completed.

The scheme was designed to finish off near complete houses and lease them at a reduced rate (85 percent) to councils, who would in turn rent them to tenants.

“Given the considerable housing need in the county, we would welcome the delivery of these social housing units, “ said housing officer Michael Rainey

It was good news for Kolbe Special School with the announcement of plans to buy a .85ha site at St Fintan’s Hospital and construct a new single storey school, to replace the existing school. The new six classroom school will cater for 30 pupils and ten teachers. Laois County Council gave outline planning permission.

The water shortage that hit Dublin this month led to Senator John hitting out at the delay in the Garryhinch project.

“The crows have come home to roost and Ireland exposes itself as a potential laughing stock by running out of water in a country where it never seems to stop raining,” said Sen Whelan.

“There can be no more long-fingering of the Garryhinch project,” he said. Bord na Móna say the reservoir was “good to go” for planning.

A local contractor threatened to remove tarmac from the roads of Garden Village estate in Portlaoise unless Laois County Council paid him the €49,000 he was owed.

Eugene Lacey agreed that residents in the estate were “innocent parties” but that he was “treated very badly”.

“It’s an awful lot of money and no-one seems to give a hoot,” he said.

The public were warned to keep valuables under lock and key, following a spate of burglaries and car break-ins.

Four cars were broken into at the Midway Hotel, and two at Portlaoise Rugby club on November 7.

A house in Cashel, Ballyroan was broken into on November 8 and a shotgun was stolen. In Mountmellick lead was stolen from the roof of St Patrick’s BNS.

On the same day houses were broken into in Mountrath, and in Portlaoise the following day.

Laois County Council took a big step towards the regeneration of Main Street by buying the old Shaws building to turn it into a state of the art library.

The council pledged to invest more than €2.5 million, using a government grant, not yet been applied for.

It was welcomed by Downtown Traders and library staff.

There are only 16 patients left in Abbeyleix Hospital, less than half the number since the closure of the unit was announced two years ago, along with Shaen, prompting a protest march and a High Court case by residents. Speaking in the Seanad, Sen Whelan said it was “an absurd situation”.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan said the process would conclude “very shortly”.

Portlaoise Hospital ran out of pillows in A&E.

Elderly patient Matt Dunne was admitted early on the morning of November 19, and after waiting on a trolley for 13 hours, got a bed but with no pillows.

His 90 year old neighbour brought him in her pillows.

“I couldn’t believe it, a hospital with no pillows,” he said.