Protest over planned power lines


Up to a 1,000 people are expected to attend a rally in Meath tomorrow protesting at plans to build high voltage overhead power lines linking the country's electricity to Northern Ireland.

Managed by EirGrid, they will run for 58 kilometres through the county on the way to Tyrone and local residents claim their presence poses a major health risk.

The Meath Pylon Pressure group is arguing the lines, which form part of the Single Electricity Market (SEM), should be placed underground.

Francis Lally, Meath Pylon Pressure spokesman, said: "Our community is very angry over the health implications of the high-voltage power lines. "There are thousands of people who will be affected. Our key concern here is the health risk but the pylons will also blight the landscape and devalue homes and property.

"Our solution is straightforward, by all means install new power lines, just put them underground."

As well as the 58km through Meath, the group said the lines will also run through Cavan, Monaghan and cross the border into Tyrone.

Mr Lally said that while EirGrid claim the power lines to be safe, international studies had shown that living beside them increased the risk of contracting cancers, childhood leukaemia or suffering miscarriages.

In a statement released today, EirGrid said the power lines would bring economic benefits to the region.  The company said the development would require an investment of €200 million and would provide more competitive and reliable power.

The EirGrid statement went on to add that placing part or all of the transmission network underground could cause problems, particularly in the identification and repair of faults.