More than 250 people attended a meeting in the Clanard Court Hotel in Athy last Thursday, November 7 organised by Grid Link Action Group, the organisation opposed to the proposed 400kV overhead power line linking Kildare and Cork.
The meeting comes in advance of a November 26 deadline for concerned individuals to lodge submissions objecting to the Grid Link project.
In the meantime the Grid Link Action Group has engaged the expert services of planning consultant, Tom Phillips Associates, to provide advice to the the group and the wider community.
“This is a critical stage in the process and we need as many people as possible to submit quality submissions to object to the Grid Link project,” David O’Brien of Grid Link Action Group.
“Therefore, we felt it was essential to seek professional advice and to share that advice with as many people as possible”.
The Grid Link Action Group will also be making its own submission.
The Grid Link project proposes to connect a high voltage overhead power line from Kilcullen to Cork. However the Grid Link Action Group have embarked on a campaign to force Eirgrid to consider alternative option such as placing the cables underground.
They claim that the technology exists for this to happen, and that over the distance being proposed, the cost is the “about the same”.
They are also in favour of AC power, whereas Eirgrid has said in the past that they believe only DC power is sufficient. DC lines are more problematic to put under ground, Eirgrid claims.
At the meeting, the Action Group outlined the dangers from the proposed high voltage lines, including health effects and property values.
They also revealed that they have been in contact with a group in Meath who are opposing high voltage lines there.
And they explained that within the IFA, there are moves to have a national policy in opposition to the lines.
The Action Group is currently in the process of contacting all of the landowners in the affected area to unite behind a coalition to oppose the plans.
Another possibility discussed at the meeting was to create a landblock of farms where all farmers involved refuse entry to representatives of Eirgrid onto their lands to complete an environmental impact statement (EIS).
And an EIS is needed by Eirgrid if it is to get planning permission, thus creating a stalemate situation.