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The hot-button issue of the proposed Grid West 400kV power line development has continued to evolve this week. At Monday’s Mayo County Council meeting, the elected members took the unusual step of adjourning the standing orders of the meeting to let one of the affected members of the community address the meeting in the middle of a debate.
Fianna Fáil councillor Jimmy Maloney has called for the numerous community groups who have concerns about the potential Eirgrid project in the county to be provided with funding and can engage the services of a specialist independent consultant so they can be represented and their concerns be put across by an appropriate professional. Cllr Maloney said this week, “I attended the special county council meeting and listened with interest to the presentation given by Eirgrid. I then weighed this up against the numerous calls I had received from the public over the past number of weeks relating to genuine public concern over the Eirgrid proposal. As I see it the only solution for fair and open discussion is to provide the public and community groups with funding to allow them the option of engaging the services of an independent consultant or consultants to represent them at local and national level- Specifically when this process reaches planning stage with An Bord Pleanála. This means that they can request answers to their concerns from the appropriate independent professionals. I further feel that the costs arising from this consultation should be paid for by Eirgrid.”
Mayo County Council will hold a special meeting on the morning of Monday, November 4 at 10am where the issue of the Eirgrid preferred route in north Mayo will be discussed. There has been widespread opposition to the proposed route of the €240 million 440KV high capacity overhead power line for the west of Ireland, since it was announced a number of weeks ago.
EirGrid has announced the emerging preferred route corridor for the Grid West project. The chosen 1km wide corridor, which will accommodate a new power line, starts north west of Moygownagh, runs west of Ballina, east of Foxford and Swinford, south of Charlestown and Ballaghaderreen before linking into the existing Flagford substation, near Carrick-on-Shannon.
Mayo County Council has put forward a recommendation that the operators of a proposed wind farm contribute €10,000 per megawatt of power created to a community investment fund. However all Mayo County Council can do is make a propsal on the figure as the final decision on the ammount will be made by An Bord Planala. The proposed joint venture between ESB Wind Development and Bord na Mona at Owenwinny, Bellacorick is expected to cost in the region of €600 million to construct.
On Sunday September 29 Athlone Community Radio’s Irish Language programme Inniu, Inné, Amárach will be participating in an Irish language World Record attempt.
Mayo Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin has welcomed the news that both the ESB and Bord na Mona are to engage in consultations directly with representatives of the various community groups concerned over the proposed development of Ireland's biggest wind farm at Oweninny.
EirGrid has held a series of open days across the west on potential route corridors for the Grid West project, including days in Bangor Erris, Ballina, Swinford and Claremorris.
Mayo Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin has told the Dáil that the poor electricity transmission network in Mayo is jeopardising a number major alternative energy projects in the county which are at an advanced stage of planning.
IBEC West, which represents business in the region, has welcomed the significant progress on the Grid West project, following the announcement of a number of potential corridors which can accommodate this new transmission line. The project is a €240 million investment in the west of Ireland’s energy infrastructure and is being developed by EirGrid, the state-owned company responsible for the development and operation of the national electricity transmission system.