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Tipperary – EirGrid’s Institutionalised Arrogance

As with most important issues currently being discussed /experienced in today’s Ireland, solutions are being left solely to those whom we pay the massive salaries and top-ups and why not, after all that is why we employ them, is it not?  However, if the past is any guide as to what we can expect now into the future, this trend of continued silence and non democratic debate by all of our citizens, must now stop.

We as a nation can no longer ignore or indeed trust the final supposedly logical informed decisions being made by those we employ, as many of these same employees should find out come local elections scheduled for next May.

Of course in this instance I am particularly referring to supporters of EirGrid and their arrogance and institutionalised contempt for the ordinary tax payers of South Tipperary and those who have chosen to gamble with our health, which are intent on raping our natural scenery and hell bent on destroying the very future of our tourism sector.

Why should Co Tipperary, a county which has little large industry, massively high emigration with no real future employment prospects for our children, now be ordered to bear the brunt of what we observe as institutionalised contempt?

For the benefit of our overly silent majority, EirGrid has identified three corridors for their future network of proposed pylons. (Two in Waterford and one across the South of Tipperary). From these three corridors one will be finally chosen as the route for the Gridlink power line linking Wexford and Cork via Waterford city.

According to rethinkpylons.org, EirGrid’s Grid 25 project, (of which Grid Link forms part) some 750 to 1,500 pylons will be erected between 45m and 60m high. Same will carry 400kV overhead lines more than 500km and will be erected not more than 50m from some of our private dwellings.

“For what purpose?” I hear you ask. The most widely held view by those affected is that this Gridlink project, has to do with facilitating our new, and to my view, an unsustainable wind energy sector.  Minister Pat Rabbitte’s recent memorandum of understanding with the UK government with regard to exporting wind turbine produced electricity, now makes Ireland a giant Wind Farm, producing cheap electricity for Europe and may have more to do with this proposed project than indeed it has to do with the upgrading of our own national electricity grid.

If the south of our soon to be united county is chosen to be part of this project, pylons will now begin to pop up like mushrooms to run from east Carrick-on-Suir to west Ballyporeen, having devastating consequences for our badly funded tourism sector.

This project will also seriously affect the values of farms, farmland and private residential homes, as this same kind of activity has achieved in other places. It will seriously damage the reputation of our Golden Vale, (Latter the richest farmland in Europe with a worldwide reputation as being an unspoiled food producing area). But above all else it will destroy a huge God given piece of Tipperary’s most scenic views, thus making a mockery of our County Development Plan.

Recent figures published in December last show that our Government spend €1.75m, given to farmers to protect 128 to 172 breeding pairs of  hen harriers in the 10 months to Oct 20th of last year. This amounted to an average spend of more than €5,000 per recorded live adult bird. Yet this proposed project will almost certainly destroy the habitats of several protected species outlined in the South Tipp Biodiversity Plan, e.g. Barn Owls, Ireland’s native Bumble and Honey bee, not to mention certain cross areas of archaeological importance, e.g. Ballysheehan Medieval Church and cemetery,  Ballybrado (Latter the only area in Co Tipperary to produce Mesolithic flint tools from 8,000 years ago) not to mention the ring-forts at Kilcommon and Scartana.

Finally, add to the latter certain unanswered health issues regarding electric magnetic fields. In 1996, Professor Denis Henshaw led a team which found that the electric fields emanating from high voltage power lines, concentrate vehicle and other industrial fumes into clusters of dangerous gases which increase the risk of cancer related illnesses. The team reported that carcinogenic pollutants were attracted to such power lines “like bees round a honey pot.” A simple test for this intended project is to turn on your car radio and go near to one of these high voltage lines.  Irrespective of health fears, it interferes with your electrical equipment which has to be annoying for tenants in any area.

Unnecessary upheaval will also be suffered by local Tipperary residents in this area and latter are expected to continue their silence while allowing over ground cable and pylons to be dragged through their scenic valley connecting the Knockmealdown and Galtee mountains and all by a company that are fully protected by not having to apply for any planning permission from any relative Local Authority.

How long more will we continue, not just our ridiculous silence, but also our tolerance of those to whom we pay large salaries and expenses, in return for very little toil and even less industry.

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