A proposal to have all 400kv power lines undergrounded included in the new Mayo County Council development plan fell at a vote (12-10, with nine councillors absent for the vote ) at this week’s special meeting of the council to approve the new county development plan.
Sinn Fein councillor Gerry Murray proposed to have the item inserted as an amendment to the manager’s report. He pointed out that as there was no Government policy in place at present, the council could insert the proposal in the plan and when the Government policy was formulated following the results of the commission, chaired by Judge Catherine McGuinness. “With the current absence of government policy, we have a golden opportunity to assist the wishes of the people to protect them, the landscape, and the 3,000 tourism jobs in the county, by doing this. If Pat Rabbitte wishes to make the policy later, it’s his choice, but at least we’ve reflected the wishes of the people.”
Independent councillor Seamus Weir said: “The Government don’t give a damn about councillors on this issue, the people are angry with what is being tried to be done with pylons and turbines.”
Cllr Joe Mellet proposed that the wording of the development plan would say the lines be put underground “where possible”, but this was rejected by Cllr Murray who said, “I don’t want any ambiguity on this issue.”
Cllr Weir then said: “We can’t get planning permission in the Moy Valley, but we’ll get pylons, the Government commission is a kick to touch on the issue until the election.”
When Cllr Murray’s proposal was put to a vote he was supported by councillors Rose Conway Walsh, Richard Finn, Gerry Ginty, Jimmy Maloney, John O’Hara, Annie May Reape, Damien Ryan, Eddie Staunton, and Seamus Weir. Councillors Michael Burke, Tom Connolly, John Cribben, Peter Flynn, Henry Kenny, Eugene McCormack, Al McDonnell, Michéal McNamara, Joe Mellet, Jarlath Munnelly, and Johnny O’Malley voted against the proposal. There were nine councillors absent from the vote.