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The elected members of the Claremorris Municipal District will be given a presentation by Eirgrid on its proposed North Connacht 110KV Project at their next monthly meeting.
EirGrid, Ireland’s electricity grid operator, last Friday announced plans to replace the Grid West electricity transmission project with a smaller-scale development. The Grid West project was proposed in 2012 to connect large amounts of renewable energy to the grid. The decision to replace it was made due to the lower than expected amounts of wind generation in the north Connacht region.
Independent Ballina Municipal District Mayo county councillor Seamus Weir this week hit out at proposals to only underground 8km of the controversial project. Cllr Weir said this week: “I oppose Eirgrid’s third option to reduce the voltage on the proposed 400kv transmission line from 400kv to 210kv and suggesting under-grounding the line to a distances of 30 kilometres from Magownagh to Flagfort. I am told it will only be underground for 8km at Flagfort substation.”
Over the next four Tuesdays EirGrid will be holding information clinics in the Grid West Information Centre on Bury Street in Ballina.
Grid West is currently continuing its work in looking at both overground and underground route options for the infrastructure project.
The People Before Profit group representing the Claremorris Municipal District, will hold its monthly meetings on a new day and at a new venue. The meetings are now on the third Monday of the month at 7.30pm at Maxwell’s Lounge at The Square in Claremorris.
EirGrid has announced plans this week to lodge a planning application to the Mayo County Council for the uprate of the existing 110kV overhead line between Bellacorick and Castlebar (part two) today, Friday August 8. The Bellacorick to Castlebar 110kv line is approximately 37km in length and is primarily supported by single circuit wood poles with steel angle towers. In 2013 part one of the uprate was completed, comprising approximately 17km extending out of the Castlebar substation.
The stand off over the Grid West project looks set to intensify with members of the Moy Valley Protection Group now vowing they will fight it all the way, regardless of whether or not the proposed high capacity power lines are sunk underground.
The Sinn Féin candidate for the Midlands Northwest European constituency, Matt Carthy, has called for the independent expert panel on pylons to listen to the voice of local residents. Speaking following the publication of the Terms of Reference of the review of the Grid West and Grid Link projects, Carthy said, “It is essential that the concerns of communities affected by pylons are addressed by the independent expert panel. Under the terms of reference, the independent expert panel will examine the potential environmental impacts, technical efficacy and cost factors in regards to placing electric transmission lines overhead or underground. However, it is disappointing to learn that the potential impacts of Electro Magnetic Fields will not be taken into consideration by the independent expert panel.”
There were clear dividing lines drawn in the Mayo County Council on Monday afternoon when a controversial draft policy on ‘Community Benefit Contributions for Certain Major Developments’ was passed, by a vote of 26-6. Excepting Fine Gael where all councillors support the motion, the two other political parties in the council split on the vote, with Sinn Féin’s Rose Conway-Walsh, Fianna Fáil trio of Al McDonnell, Blackie Gavin, and Damien Ryan, and Independent councillors Michael Kilcoyne, Richard Finn, and Michael Holmes all voting for it. Voting against the motion were Fianna Fáil’s Margaret Adams, Jimmy Maloney, and Annie May Reape alongside Sinn Féin’s Gerry Murray and independents Gerry Ginty and Seamus Weir. Cllr Frank Durcan was absent from the meeting. Both Cllr Murray and Cllr Weir led the charge against the proposals at the meeting and both councillors ended up in heated side-debates with other councillors while the topic was being discussed.