6 May 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Farmer prepared to go to jail if planning permission for pylons granted

By Michael Fisher

The effects of the proposed North/South electricity interconnector on the small farms and homesteads of South Monaghan have been spelled out in detail by landowners at the Bord Pleanála oral hearing in Carrickmacross, now in its ninth week. Some of them are elderly, and their farms have been in their family for several generations. Others are married couples with young children, who were given sites by relatives to build a house in the countryside. They have expressed concerns about having to live and work near high voltage power lines and pylons because of potential effects on their health, as well as the devaluation of their houses and land and the impact on the views of the surrounding landscape.

A dairy farmer from Corduff told the two inspectors yesterday he did not want EirGrid coming into his property. If the line was approved and construction started then he would be prepared to go to jail, and if he went to jail then his children would do so as well. Another farmer said he would not allow EirGrid to disrupt his way of life by making use of the only access he had to his farm. “This is my home”, he said. The power lines would go across his field in two directions, because one of the pylons they proposed to construct was an angle tower. Another objector told the EirGrid team to go back to their office in Dublin and to leave them alone in Co. Monaghan.

Some of the objectors made the point that their forefathers had fought for their land one hundred years ago at the time of the Easter Rising. The current generation would not allow a semi-state company to come along and take their freedom away. The people of Monaghan, Cavan and Meath would not let EirGrid do so.

During the hearing landowners have continued to pose questions to EirGrid staff and their team of consultants. They questioned the access routes to the tower sites that EirGrid had specified on maps. The company has made thirty-two separate changes to the routes since the hearing began in March.

EirGrid senior counsel Brian Murray in response to Padraig O’Reilly of the NEPPC said they did not believe there would be any further changes. He added that he could not rule out matters arising that would need to be addressed by the company. But EirGrid had no desire to bring in any more changes as they entered the latter stages of the proceedings.

A number of landowners posed a direct question to EirGrid staff and to the inspectors, asking them how they would like to live in a house beside a pylon and power lines. Jarlath Fitzsimons SC for EirGrid said individual opinions were not a determining factor. The process was about the proper planning and sustainable development of the project and submissions received that were relevant to the …


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