ANTI-PYLONS MEETING COUNTY MONAGHAN

Anti-Pylons meeting at Aughnamullen Social Centre Photo © Michael Fisher

Anti-Pylons meeting at Aughnamullen Social Centre Photo © Michael Fisher

Around 300 people packed into Aughnamullen Social Centre in Lough Egish tonight to protest against EirGrid plans for a second overhead North/South electricity interconnector. The anti-pylon protestors from County Monaghan agreed a motion put forward by Fianna Fáil Councillor Seamus Coyle and seconded by Fine Gael Councillor Hughie McElvaney. It instructs TDs to place a Dáil motion asking the government to instruct EirGrid to cease all work on the proposed North/South link and to direct Eirgrid to underground fully the North/South interconnector as a HVDC-VSC cabling along roads, as in the company’s proposal for a section of the GridWest link. Asked by a member of the large crowd if she supported the motion, local Fine Gael T.D. and Minister for the Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys said she would take time to read the motion before she agreed to it. Deputy Sean Conlan said he would be bringing the motion to a meeting of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party at Leinster House on Wednesday evening. Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghin Ó Caolain and Deputy Brendan Smith of Fianna Fáil also contributed to the meeting and there was an apology from Joe O’Reilly T.D. and Matt Carthy MEP. At least thirteen of the eighteen Monaghan Councillors were present, including all six from the Carrickmacross-Castleblayney Municipal District. An apology was received from Cllr Cathy Bennett. Concerns raised during the meeting that lasted nearly three hours ranged from the potential health impact of the overhead line, the devaluation of people’s land and property if the proposed project goes ahead and the environmental impact and unsightliness of the pylons. Many speakers claimed that the people of Monaghan, Cavan and Meath were being treated as second class citizens compared to those living in areas that would be affected by EirGrid’s two other major supply projects, GridWest and GridLink. They said communities in County Monaghan had not been consulted by EirGrid about a possible underground option for the 140km line, which the company has estimated would be five times more expensive than the overhead plans. At the end of the meeting all present stood and observed one minute’s silence in memory of the anti-pylons campaigner, the late Councillor Owen Bannigan from Loughmorne, Castleblayney. Full report in Thursday’s Northern Standard.

Heather Humphreys T.D. and Caoimhghin Ó Caolain T.D. at the anti-pylons meeting in Aughnamullen Social Centre Photo © Michael Fisher

Heather Humphreys T.D. and Caoimhghin Ó Caolain T.D. at the anti-pylons meeting in Aughnamullen Social Centre Photo © Michael Fisher

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