Galway West Fianna Fáil TD Michael Kitt has called for an independent assessment of the impact of EirGrid’s plans to build overhead pylons in Galway and Roscommon.
Deputy Kitt was speaking during a Fianna Fáil Dáil motion expressing concerns about the impact on the environment, the landscape and public health. After two nights of Dáil debate, Fine Gael and Labour TDs rejected Fianna Fáil’s calls for a full assessment of the pylon plans to be carried out by an independent, international expert.
Speaking afterwards Deputy Kitt said, “People across Galway, Roscommon, Mayo and many other parts of the country are getting increasingly concerned about the impact of EirGrid’s plans to build overhead power lines through their communities. While I support the need to upgrade our national grid to ensure security of energy supply, it is essential that we have a full assessment of EirGrid’s plans so we understand how our communities will be affected.
“In a significant intervention, Fáilte Ireland has now raised concerns about the impact of overhead pylons on our tourism industry. This must be taken seriously, particularly given our reliance on tourism in the West of Ireland. A number of local groups have expressed concerns about the visual impact of pylons on the Comeragh Mountains. There are also walking and cycling routes being developed, particularly in the West, that will be affected by these overhead power lines. Residents in these areas feel that the EirGrid consultation process has been totally inadequate, with many describing it as a farce.
“I have read several reports of families in dispute with EirGrid because of the proposed siting of a high voltage pylon 25m or 50m near their homes. In one case, a family argued the pylons would have a devastating impact on their autistic daughter. If families go to great lengths to get a house in an appropriate peaceful location for their autistic child, it is unbelievable they could face this further imposition.
“Fianna Fáil has called for an independent, international assessment of EirGrid’s plans. Our aim is simply to understand the impact of the plans on the communities affected before it is too late. In some cases, alternative plans to locate the new power lines must be considered. There have been conflicting reports about the costs of putting the power lines underground. An independent assessment could clarify this once and for all.
“It’s very disappointing that the government chose to reject this proposal in the Dáil this week. I would ask the local government representatives in the West of Ireland, who have listened to the concerns of their own constituents, to reconsider. It is only right that we bring some clarity to this issue before it is too late.”