THE country is being sold to the highest bidder, MEP Nessa Childers said today in the wake of escalating public opposition to the planned construction of high-voltage, overhead electricity pylons.
Ms Childers has also angrily branded controversial remarks made yesterday by Enda Kenny in relation to the project as ‘outrageous’. The Taoiseach had linked the pylon expansion to job creation, adding that more young people would have to emigrate if the project did not go ahead.
Today, the MEP formally submitted her opposition to the plans, stating again that they are going ahead without adequate public consultation.
‘There are fundamental flaws in this project’s argument and approach,’ Ms Childers said. ‘The approach taken by the Government on the matter is not acceptable.
‘Looking at the pylon route in Lismore yesterday it appears, much like Greece, we are selling off Ireland to the highest bidder.’
And she emphasised that those campaigning furiously against the plans, are ‘not going away’.
Yesterday, Ms Childers met with residents in Waterford and Cork, and says alarm in local communities is now widespread. ‘Of course, people are concerned about the value of their property falling, and about the aesthetic impact, but more importantly they are extremely worried for the well-being of their families – because of the potential health consequences of living close to a pylon.’
EirGrid, the state-owned company which develops and operates electricity for Ireland, launched its ambitious Grid Link project in April 2012. Costing in the region of €500million if implemented, the power lines in Leinster and Munster would soar to 43metres in some areas.
Last month, incoming EirGrid boss John O’Connor admitted to a Dail committee that he would have reservations about living close to a pylon.
EirGrid plans to roll out its €3.2billion upgrade of the national electricity grid over the next decade. Dubbed Grid 25, the project aims to erect 1,300 new pylons and 800km of new overhead lines. It will also upgrade 3,000km of existing lines across the country.