Powerline Plans Spark Protest

A protest will take place in Dublin today against Eirgrid's plans to build powerlines, pylons and a substation in Co. Laois.

Labour Senator John Whelan fully supports the protest by the Ratheniska Action Group which will take place at Leinster House.

He said: "Eirgrid are coming to Buswell's Hotel today, ostensibly for an all-day Oireachtas briefing session, but it is merely posturing for politicians and a meaningless charade masquerading as consultation. I would urge my colleagues, TDs and Senators, on all sides of the House to attend this information day, but to make sure they are not sold a pup. I appeal to my elected colleagues to challenge Eirgrid and to ask the hard questions.

"Unfortunately, my experience on the ground in Laois-Offaly is that Eirgrid continue to ride roughshod over local communities; are not transparent in their plans; do not engage in meaningful consultation and are economical with the information at their disposal. This leads to distrust and unnecessary and costly delays. It is the taxpayer of course and no Eirgrid who pays the price for these delays in the roll out of important strategic infrastructure.

"With their cavalier attitude it is no surprise that Eirgrid are getting people's backs up all over the country and I certainly have had a bellyful of them. I would be the first to agree that the country cannot afford any undue and costly delays in the provision of vital national infrastructure but Eirgrid are chiefly to blame for this due to the confrontational rather than co-operative approach they chose to take."

The RTS Substation Action Group are determined that they will "not co-operate whatsoever".

Mr Whelan continued: "I will be calling on the Minister Pat Rabbitte to intervene and call Eirgrid to order in terms of how they deal and negotiate with communities so as to address the legitimate concerns of rural dwellers. I believe that such an approach would not only facilitate but expedite the roll out of critical infrastructure. To ignore rural communities will only lead to further protests and impediments to the Laois-Kilkenny Reinforcement Project and other strategic elements of the Grid25 plan."


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