Weir totally against Eirgrid’s third option

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.”

Cllr Weir, who left the Fine Gael party over the project, continued: “In October 2013 I was co-founder of two anti-pylon committees in Knockmore and Ardagh which were set up from two public meetings where 700 hundred people attended Knockmore and 500 people attended Ardagh at their respective community centres. From both meetings it was clearly highlighted that the communities did not want pylons of any sort but were not against undergrounding.”

Cllr Weir continued: “My notice of motion was passed at Mayo County Council calling on the Taoiseach to intervene and instruct Eirgrid to put the 400kv transmission line underground. It later became Eirgrid’s second option before the local elections 2014. My other notice of motion was passed calling on Mayo County Council to rescind the Mayo Wind Energy Strategy but for unknown reasons it was not resolved. The country at present has 30 per cent over capacity of electricity producing about 6,500 megawatts. In context the amount of electricity Mayo uses at peak time is about 150 megawatts. The Mayo Wind Energy Strategy 2011 aim is to produce 6,700 megawatts so this indicates there will be wind farms all over north Mayo for export of electricity.”

The Knockmore native concluded: “The proposed high voltage power lines will have a negative impact in the Moy Valley Region. It runs very close to our primary schools and our communities. There are health and safety concerns, its visual impact on our landscape, devaluation of property, and its negative effects on tourism. I am not against infrastructure development but not at any cost. The Government should support the upgrading of the existing power lines which will give Mayo double the supply it needs. There are other means of energy such as biomass which should be invested in to support local communities.”

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