This section dealt with individual Monaghan landowners

MARIA MCKENNA, Lisdrumgormly, said she was objecting to having overhead lines put over her lands. This was for reasons of potential health risks; devaluation of the land and restriction on future development; visual impact of the proposed lines; interference with nature and enjoyment of the countryside, as well as safety issues.

She questioned why EirGrid were proposing to erect a pylon on one of the highest points along the proposed route, with no direct access to the site from any public road. The company had revised the access route map and now proposed to enter the field via a gate from a road on another landowner’s field. She feared that two good quality fields would be destroyed by heavy vehicle traffic accessing the pylon construction site and the two stringing areas.

The pylon would be a ninety degree angle tower on a high drumlin. The views from the top of this hill were breathtaking, she said, and the countryside would be spoiled forever by the pylon and lines. Mrs McKenna wanted to know if EirGrid proposed to remove a stone hedgerow boundary between her land and her neighbour’s in order to access the site.

Referring to Drumgallon bog at the lower end of her lands, she said it was teeming with flora and fauna. The massive pylon would be a blot on the landscape and would have a very negative impact on all aspects associated with the enjoyment of the area, including the Monaghan Way walking route.

She hoped An Bord Pleanála would have the courage and foresight to make the right decision in refusing EirGrid’s application or to recommend the lines be put underground. The health and safety, wellbeing of the community and the preservation of the beautiful landscape must be protected, she concluded.

PADRAIG AGNEW, Barraghy, also spoke on behalf of his neighbour MARY HAMILL, Aghamakerr. He said he strongly objected to having pylons in this peaceful farmland.

Cllr SEAN GILLILAND pointed out that the proposed pylon at Barraghy was an angle tower that would be situated in a very wet area of bogland, where there was floodwater all year round. The topography was particularly steep at that point.

DECLAN KEENAN, Ardragh, said the landowners would fight this plan until it was stopped. He questioned EirGrid about proposed access routes to a pylon and guarding area that would be on his land. Construction traffic would totally disturb the routes he used for farm work, he said, and if he was cutting silage, who would get priority? He questioned what would be the benefit of having a pylon on his land. The proposed line would be providing power for Northern Ireland and this supply was an urban problem. Mr Keenan said he was not going to stand by and have his land destroyed.

JIM COYLE, Ardragh, said the overhead line had more minuses than plusses. Buisness people told the hearing they needed the line. But they were freeloading on the farmers. If they wanted it then they would have to pay for it. It would not be done at his or his neighbours’ expense.

He said he would not ever give up on this. If EirGrid bullied us, then we would bully them, he said. If EirGrid win the battle and get the pylons up, then that would not mean they had won the war. He said the proposed development would have a devastating effect on tourism. Mr Coyle also raised questions about a badger sett on the land and about the disinfection process for vehicles as a precaution against disease.

JOHN FINLASS, Ardragh, said the last eight years since the initial plan had been a hell for local people. EirGrid had been dragging it out and this was very unfair. Changes had been made to EirGrid’s transmission line plans in the west and south, so why not in Co. Monaghan? They were not saying they did not want the interconnector, but why not put it underground? He also had concerns about the impact of the construction on badgers that were known to be in the area.

ALLEN MCADAM, Ardragh, said he was strongly opposed to the development on a number of grounds: the potential health effects, devaluation of property, and the limitations to current and future recreational and business use of property. He said the human cost had been enormous and had not been quantified or given due recognition in the weighting of criteria for the route selection.

Mr McAdam explained that in 2007 a cloud came over the community when the project was announced and they had lived under it for nine long years. This war of attrition by the applicant had left families with many sleepless nights; fathers and mothers worrying about their children; sons and daughters worried about their elderly parents.

He said he was very concerned at potential adverse health effects from EMF on his young family of four children under the age of 14, due to the proximity of the lines to their dwelling house and the adjoining fields. The WHO guidelines on EMF exposure levels did not give him great confidence in their accuracy, particularly with the WHO track record on asbestos and smoking.

No specific impact assessment on his property had been provided by EirGrid. The dwelling was approximately 350m from the line; the base of the nearest pylons would be a number of metres higher than the chimney on their two-storey farmhouse.

After speaking to a local auctioneer, he believed the devaluation of property would be enormous, with no compensation available. His family had lived there for 350 years and did not expect the imposition of such a state-sponsored threat to their health, wellbeing and tranquility of the unspoilt countryside.

Mr McAdam claimed the so-called public consultation had been at best farcical. Access to a public meeting in Monaghan was denied, venues were changed at a few hours’ notice and every conceivable attempt was made by EirGrid to mislead and hide the true information until the route was selected. As an Irish citizen he said he was ashamed at the manner in which this state and EU co-financed body had conducted its affairs. He claimed its staff and agents during the hearing had been seen to be under-prepared, lacking in experience and knowledge, and appeared to be indifferent to the views of the people in this area.

Referring to the environmental impact statement, he claimed the multiplicity of errors and mistakes made by EirGrid in interpreting aerial photographs to draw up access routes showed a complete lack of knowledge of what exactly was on the ground. Surveys of habitats had not been conducted as 75% of the lands had not been walked. He questioned why EirGrid did not use it statutory powers to enter the land to carry out these surveys. He wondered if such powers existed at all.

He had attended the previous oral hearing in July 2010 and partook in proceedings at that failed planning application. Mistakes had been made then by EirGrid. This time around despite the endless supply of money to finance its reworking, the enormous staffing resources housed in this hotel for the last two months, this application was in his view infinitely worse.

He reiterated his strong opposition to the application by EirGrid in its current form. He trusted that the very real and grave concerns he had outlined would be fully considered.

He asked the inspectors where he could access the additional information about access routes and clarification provided thus far at the oral hearing. As a directly affected landowner he had not been sent this information and the only details he had seen were in the reports of the Northern Standard.

Mr McAdam concluded: “Make no mistake Inspectors when you are deliberating over the debates at this hearing and adjudicating over the grant of planning: you are not merely deciding on a piece of infrastructure, rather on a project that would have a profound effect on this community, the impact of which could be accurately equated by us who are directly affected as akin to a life sentence, not only for this generation, but also for our children and generations of people to come.”

TERRY LYNCH, Ardragh, appeared with his father SEAN LYNCH. He claimed EirGrid had no real understanding of the geography along the proposed route. Neither did they place any value on the traditions of County Monaghan. He had heard Eirgrid describe this countryside as ‘sparsely populated’.

This was suggestive of almost uninhabited landscape and therefore of little consequence, but nothing could be further from the truth. County Monaghan was a rich tapestry of glacial legacies and the careful hand of human habituation. It was the hedgerows, the ditches, the drumlins, and the bogs, the lanes and right of ways, the homes and farmhouses, the fields and the dolmens; every inch had been accounted for by the carefully managed and slow hand of tradition, he said.

Families had inherited from their predecessors these small enterprises and the traditions, along with the responsibility to look after them and hand them onto the next generation. The value of this tradition and the value of the land and homes was inalienable. But if EirGrid were given permission to overground this project, then the farm and home would become worthless. Families would have nothing of value to hand onto the next generation. EirGrid’s proposal would break traditions that had made the rural landscape of Monaghan unique.

He told the inspectors: “Our farm was bought by my grandfather; my nephew and niece are the fourth generation of our family to walk the land. The farm and home have a rich historic value, dating back to the plantation of Ulster and the Shirley estate. We invested large sums of money in restoring and protecting the house, the labourers’ sleeping quarters, the coach houses and the dispensary, which served as a hospital before and during the famine years. It would have been easy to bulldoze them all, but we sought to preserve as well as develop the farm into a viable enterprise. Years of hard work have paid off and it is a beautiful place to live.”

Mr Lynch said EirGrid’s plan would see a pylon being erected on a rise behind the house and outbuildings. Not only would this compromise the value and charm of the farm, but living under its shadow would change completely their relationship with their home. EirGrid planned to use a private driveway as their construction access point. This would undoubtedly prove a danger as the route passed within yards of the house and right next to the lawn.

Over the period of construction, and for years after, they would effectively become prisoners in their home. The construction route would also see fleets of heavy vehicles thunder right beside one of the historic stone buildings, thereby damaging the foundations. The yard was also too small for heavy vehicles to turn. The construction work would shut down their farm. Their land was recently reseeded and construction would damage the fields they depended on for silage and farm viability.

Mr Lynch pointed out that another proposed construction route passed over a well of significant local historic value. EirGrid had written off undergrounding because it wanted a cheaper way. The company must be told to find a way to put the cables underground, he said.

PHILIP FREEMAN, Ardragh, said he strongly objected to the proposed pylons. He did not know how EirGrid could assess the impact on his farm as low, when the line would split his land in two. He hoped the interconnector would be put underground.

PAUL RUSSELL, Ardragh was accompanied by his son EUGENE RUSSELL. Mr Russell said the people of Monaghan were being treated as second class citizens. Their rights were being taken away and an injustice was being inflicted on them. He hoped the Board would give them justice.

EUGENE RUSSELL, an 18 year-old Leaving Certificate student, addressed the inspectors on issues of health concerns for humans and animals. He was also worried that future development would be affected and that it would not be possible to build a home on land where there was a monstrosity like a pylon. Land values would depreciate, he said. EirGrid should not be allowed to go ahead with the plan and the

line should be put underground, he said. He was also concerned about the visual impact of the infrastructure close to a ringfort near their house.

MARY MCENANEY, Ardragh, stated bluntly: “No way will a pylon go up on my land”. Her house which was built in 1971 would be close to one of the towers. The only change EirGrid had made since the original application was to move the site of the pylon from a field on one side of the road to the other.

TERRY LYNCH, Ardragh, also represented Lawrence Keenan, Corvally, and Thomas McEneaney. One of the pylons EirGrid proposed to erect would be on a high drumlin and it would have a significant visual impact, he said.

JAMES HANNIGAN, Corvally, spoke about the potential health risks and the noise that would come from overhead lines.

PHILIP CONNOLLY, Carrickamore, Corduff, said EirGrid had wasted millions of Euro on the last oral hearing. Now they saw the numbers of highly educated paid staff and experts the company had at this oral hearing, all the documentation and costs involved and there was also a massive advertising campaign locally. The fact that it was ongoing during this public hearing was intimidating and demeaning to a lot of affected stakeholders and in the very least distasteful. All this expense was being funded by Joe Public, the consumer and taxpayer.

EirGrid had told the hearing and the stakeholders many times how they had the power to enter any lands to survey or erect lines. Why didn’t they enter onto the lands at an early stage and do a proper route corridor selection, and then proceed to do a proper EIS with proper site evaluation, accurate visual assessment, etc. WHY ? Instead they have tried to use and indeed abuse stakeholders over the last seven years, and this oral hearing, to try and patch together an EIS.

Mr Connolly said some of the major nineteen changes to access routes submitted by the company in March would impact on residents not previously impacted upon. Some of these people did not make a submission and were still totally unaware of the changes as these details are nowhere for public viewing. EirGrid, he said, had tried to close the stable door after the horse had bolted.

What the Board must really ask themselves now is, taking into account that EirGrid had unrestricted physical access to every single one of the entry points on the public road along with their LIDAR and they can make so many (47 documented so far, and more to come) serious errors or anomalies, how can you trust the accuracy of the positioning of the pylon sites where they had no physical survey at all. Many pylons could be in laneways or out on the road. How can the Board have any faith in any of the drawings on this application?

The developer should have made available a 3D model of this project to enable the public and indeed the Board to be able to properly visualise its scale, nature and the visual effect on the landscape. All the maps, drawings and folders do nothing to help the stakeholders visualise its effects.

Whooper swans flight paths and wintering are a significant impact on the route corridor in my local area. Mitigation measures are proposed i.e. hanging large deflectors on lines. These will greatly increase the negative non mitigatable impact of the lines on route A. Was this extra visual impact taken into account in route selection?

As EirGrid states itself, no new consultation was carried out for the first two of five stages for this project. This application states that it would be a normal scenario for a project development like this to have consultation from stage one but that this application is unique. This one is unique alright, but unique is no excuse or reason for not doing planning properly. Take for example those new residents in corridor A who were not there in 2007. They have been denied their statutory right to consultation at the earliest stage.

The final route constraints report 2007, on which the preliminary evaluation and final evaluation reports are based never mention the town of Shercock when it lists towns and settlements in the study area. The preliminary re-evaluation 2011 report 5.2.2 page 72 lists the settlements in the Cavan – Monaghan study area; Carrickmacross, Castleblayney, Annyalla, Doohamlet, Oram, Lough Egish, Broomfield, Laragh, Lisdoonan, Corduff, Donaghmoyne, Magheracloone and Kingscourt.

Nowhere is Shercock mentioned in this report either. It is gross incompetence to omit Shercock in the first report but what sort of re-evaluation was carried out to miss it yet again in the 2011 re-evaluation? It wasn’t re-evaluation, it was rubber stamping. Shercock lies 2.9 km from the proposed line. I believe it is the closest town to that line. It is definitely the only town that can see several pylons from the main street.

The EIS and many other section of this application are inadequate, factually incorrect, unsuitable and littered with errors omissions and mis-information. It is based on old, outdated reports, surveys and consultation and the Board has a responsibility to ensure that all relevant planning requirements are met, no matter what the scale or deemed demand or pressure for the project. This application falls way short in many aspects, he said.



This section involved landowners and groups from Co. Monaghan

SEAN DUFFY, Drumguillew Lower, was represented by his mother Mary Duffy as he is in Australia at the moment. He had inherited ten acres of land from his uncle in February 2011. There had been no contact with EirGrid about their plans to build two pylons and a power line near the dwelling house. Mrs Duffy said there was also a plan to put two pylons on her daughter’s land at Drumhowan, one of which EirGrid had now moved across a ditch onto a neighbour’s land.

NIGEL HILLIS of the County Monaghan Anti-Pylon Committee said there could have been another technical solution without moving that particular pylon. He claimed that EirGrid had been in breach of the Aarhus Convention on public consultation and EU directives. The proposed line design stretched back to 2011 and was followed with a preferred solution report and then a final line design that the EirGrid board had approved according to the Chief Executive. The company had years to get it right and after all this they had decided to move eleven of the pylons on the proposed route when the planning application was submitted last year.

BRENDAN MARKEY, Greagh, was represented by Sean Gilliland. He did not want pylons on his land. Cllr Gilliland said the proposed access lane for construction of two pylons on Mr Markey’s land was only 8’6” wide with a water pipe below it and two other pipes alongside. It would most certainly be damaged if heavy machinery used it.

The lane was very special as there were visible badger tracks and badger setts that were monitored by the Department of Agriculture and NPWS. The power line would be a ruination of the rural countryside and way of life.

GABRIEL MOONEY, Greagh, was joined by his father Bernard in making a submission. They had huge concerns over the project. They lived 200m up a lane that EirGrid planned to use to access one of the pylons for construction. The lane was in frequent use by family members daily and they would be disrupted if heavy machinery was going to use the lane. He asked who would be responsible if there was an accident on the lane, or if it gave way under the heavy loads that would have to pass along it. Could EirGrid guarantee the safety of his young children while the proposed work was taking place? He also wondered if the company could guarantee that they would not in their lifetime experience any health effects from living beside the proposed high voltage lines.

He expressed concern that their homes and properties would be devalued and worth next to nothing in future. Nobody would want to live near these grotesque pylons, he said. The lines would destroy totally the aesthetic appearance of their locality.

He concluded: “We are all proud Irish people, proud of our democracy. We have the power to elect our public representatives; we have the power to decide if there are changes to our Constitution. We express our democratic right by voting and we accept the outcome. The people of Monaghan, Cavan and Meath had voted unanimously against this overhead power line. EirGrid should accept this fact and scrap this proposed project”.

LEO MARRON, Greagh, said the pylons would be an attack on our freedom to live according to our own traditions and own choices, currently and into the future. We could no longer sell our property or hand it onto the next generation. We could not develop it as a viable enterprise and make more of it as previous generations did.

I left my parcel of land with an estate agent in February and told him to be open and honest with all inquiries. The land was advertised locally and internationally but there have been no offers. Such is the mistrust that EirGrid have instilled among the people of our community that I took the land off the market as we feared EirGrid would use the opportunity to walk the land and gather information for their own purposes. I have no doubt that the threat of this pylon has affected the value of my land and other properties in the local area.

I face particular challenges with a disability that means I must meticulously plan my work days and weeks ahead and ensure I have adequate support to carry out my daily duties. EirGrid interference would interrupt this planning., becoming another obstacle I could live without and making farming almost impossible for the duration of the construction. The two months stated by EirGrid are only the tip of the iceberg though, as there will be continuous interference by EirGrid for a further three years and ongoing into the future. This will undoubtedly be the end of my way of life.

I have worked for years to increase the productivity of my land, digging shores to dry the land. Still it is soft in places and heavy construction would damage these land drains and undo the work I have laboured so hard over. Can EirGrid inform us here as to the weight of the pylons and measures they would take to mitigate the damage caused to my land? Or are EirGrid even aware of these factors? It appears that EirGrid have not properly assessed the land and have no idea really as to the possible consequences of building a huge pylon in my field. Also I wonder are EirGrid aware of the dangerous blind spot that exists on this apparently straight stretch of road? All households here are aware of how devious this stretch of road is. The heavy construction vehicles and increased traffic that EirGrid will bring will compound factors and make a fatal accident all the more likely. EirGrid have boasted of their strict timetabling of construction. This evidently could place pressure on contractors to reach deadlines and take short cuts on health and safety: which should come first? With so many homes surrounding the construction site I do not trust EirGrid to put the interests of families and children first. Rather it seems that profit and scheduling comes before the people and community. I wish to draw to your attention an article in the Farmers Journal dated October 11th 2014 which described the ESBs laissez-faire approach to pole removal that damaged a contractor’s harvester and left a hole in his pocket. It seems to me that EirGrid’s approach to planning and execution of these pylons will be no better and could leave many farmers out of out of pocket due to similar damage caused. EirGrid have forfeited all confidence in their abilities and no farmer would agree to allow them onto their land to destroy it.

The field on which EirGrid plan to construct this pylon is flat and poses a real and significant eyesore to a number of neighbours. It is cruel and unfair that their homes too should suffer the indignation of this towering pylon and the loss of value to their homes. To EirGrid this is all business and nothing personal but to us it’s very personal.

I also have more land in Ardragh where I am being affected by construction between pylons 190 and 191. The shared lane serves many farms and homes and as such heavy vehicles would pose a significant risk. Damage to the surface of the lane would be inevitable and have unfair and lasting consequences for those who rely on it. Furthermore there is a well that is under the lane which has historical significance that leads back to the famine era and has been minded for generations. I have an uncle who will turn 100 this year and used this well for drinking water from a child. Heavy vehicles would destroy this important piece of heritage and history and I doubt EirGrid are even aware of its existence. There are in fact several other errors in the proposed plan I could point out to EirGrid, but I would feel foolish pointing them out to such educated men.

ANN MCARDLE, Brackley, was represented by her son COLM MCARDLE. He said they were not happy about having pylons on their land. In their original application EirGrid had proposed an access route for construction that went through an embankment onto the pylon field. The access was then changed through their back yard. They wondered how this would affect the milking of cows and moving them around the farm.


Briege Byrne said the family home sits between proposed Pylon 162 and Pylon 163, The overhead power lines would run for 80 metres along our land and right over our sheep’s house. The overhead power lines will be 62.5 metres from our family home. This is the only land parcel we own and it is home to our livestock.

EirGrid wants to access our land to facilitate stringing of the overhead power line – they do not have our permission to enter our land.

EirGrid wants to use our private entrance to access our land with large, heavy construction machinery. They will have great difficulty navigating in a slope, off a busy main road, on a bad bend; onto wet boggy soft ground all year round which floods regularly.

Quote from EirGrid:

“The 0.7 hectare land parcel with beef enterprise is located in Brackley Co. Monaghan. The sensitivity is medium. There is a yard/farm building located approximately 30 meters north west of the proposed overhead power lines”.

The land parcel is not 0.7 of a hectare; it is only 0.5 of a hectare of land. The farmyard/building is not 30 metres from the overhead power lines it is right under the power lines.

EirGrid propose that they will need 65 metres of an access track to facilitate stringing of overhead Power lines at a loss of 10% of the land parcel. “Pre-mitigation the impact is moderate adverse”.

We use our field by split grazing, so the field is divided in half. The half EirGrid wants to access has our sheep’s house – which will have the overhead power line running over it – and is used to summer graze if possible as this is when it is at its driest, although our sheep will be rotated on it all year round as required.

“The construction disturbance impact is short term (generally less than 12 months) the magnitude of construction impact is low and the significance is slight adverse”.

How can EirGrid say it is short term? This is our home, our lives, our animals; the impact has already commenced and shall be engraved on the land for an eternity. EirGrid want access for 12 months. How are we going to split graze? How are we going to feed our sheep? How are we going to access our sheep’s house? To say the impact is low is hurtful and demoralising.

EirGrid say “There will be a low level of disturbance”.

This is not a true reflection. There will be a high level of disturbance. When EirGrid are finished we will be unable to use our field, we will be unable to feed our sheep, we will be unable to house our sheep and after 12 months of large heavy construction machinery, the land will be more like a building site than a grazing field – it will be ruined and we will be left with our home 62.5 metres from the overhead power line with a view of pylon 162, Pylon 163 and Pylon 164. We have 80 metres of overhead power line on our land, land we cannot use, left sterile due to the health risks this poses on us and our animals along with the constant humming and cracking sound of the overhead power lines. We see all of this as a high level of disturbance.

“There is a high impact on farm buildings and their potential expansion due to location of power lines 30 metres from yard”.

Our farm building is our sheep’s house and it is right under the power lines, this means our sheep cannot be housed in this area. Where shall we house our sheep as we only have a small parcel of land, which means we cannot build on our land.

“The impact magnitude is high and the significance of the residual impact is moderate adverse”. This overhead power line will have an immediate and detrimental impact on our health and the value of our home and land. EirGrid say this will have a low environmental impact. How can they say this? They have not stood on the land and how can they say what the environmental impact an overhead power line will have?

“Hedges land trees may be cut back within 30 metres of the overhead power lines”.

What about the hedgerow on our land? The power lines shall be running over this hedgerow. The hedgerow is home to wildlife and offers a feeding ground for many lives such as birds and bats. The river beside our land runs alongside this hedgerow. What about all the fish and creatures in the water? How can anyone say that there will be a low environmental impact when hedgerows shall be removed and rivers disturbed?

As well as the ground animals and birds we must also look up and realise that we are also on the flight path for swans and ducks. Just over the field from our home lies Barraghy Lake. The swans and ducks fly back and forth on a regular basis. These wires shall be in their direct flight pathway. We are worried that these birds may end up in the wires.

In short this is our field gone, our land gone, no grazing for our sheep, no roaming for our hens, the hedges gone: which has a knock-on effect – no birds, bats rabbits to name a few – the river that runs along the hedge tampered with and in effect gone.

What about our health and the health of our livestock? Our sheep are so close to this overhead power line. How can we be sure they will be safe? Could this cause the sheep to miscarry, have lambs born with deformities? Also our hens roam freely through the field. What about their wellbeing? They supply the family home with eggs – will we be able to keep our hens? Will we be able to consume their eggs? Our spring well is 50 feet from the overhead power lines – can we still use this water? These questions highlight that the environmental risk is high rather than low.

My child visits the family home on a regular basis. How can I visit the family home knowing that I run the risk of putting my child’s health at risk for e.g. leukaemia and other disorders? I cannot do this to the next generation.We should be protecting them not putting them at risk. Life is precious and should be cherished not put at risk because EirGrid want to erect pylons.

Along with my child’s physical wellbeing I am also extremely concerned about the physical and mental wellbeing of my parents, they have reared their children and put a lot of time and love into building a safe environment for me and my siblings and for us to be able to bring our children back to the family home, but this will be shattered. From the day that talk of this interconnection commenced it has had an impact on our emotional wellbeing. We are upset and stressed due to the possible erection of this interconnection. We will have nothing left by the time EirGrid are finished. We also need to be aware that there is a physical strain placed on every single person who is here today and is affected by EirGrid’s proposals. We can see the physical strain on people. We also need to be mindful of the mental strain this project is placing on people; this is very concerning as we sit and listen to families plead for their lands to be left untouched. We are getting a taste of how people feel as we listen to the stories of how a power line can rip through a person and put them under emotional and physical strain. Is it worth putting people under this pressure and strain? The answer is NO!

PEADAR CONNOLLY, Chairman of Lough Egish Community Development Company Ltd that runs the Food Park said overhead pylons would have a detrimental effect on the wellbeing of all in the Aughnamullen community. He explained the history of the food park which he said provided food to people from all corners of the island, from meat to dairy to eggs and dry foods. He pointed out that he had difficulty accessing any environmental impact statement on EirGrid’s web page.

(This was immediately checked by the company’s representatives who told the inspectors all the relevant EIS information had been put on a dedicated website set up at the request of An Bord Pleanála and which was found to be working properly).

Mr Connolly said he was extremely concerned about the adverse effect the overhead power line would have on the food park and the livelihood of local people. EirGrid, he claimed, had failed to demonstrate the safety distance for the food industry and employees regarding EMF emissions from 400kV power lines. He feared that a stigma might arise from the location of their food products not far from the high voltage cables and once it arose then they would be out of business. It was a risk he was not willing or able to take. He urged An Bord to ignore any pressures that might be exerted on them to fast-track the proposed project and to be mindful that the health and wellbeing of all citizens in the affected areas and generations to come were in their hands.

INA and CHARLES HEGAN, Brackley, made a submission in which they said the EirGrid plan would have a number of disastrous consequences for their farm, house, family and livestock. One pylon would be close to the front of their house. There would be a severe visual impact. There would be an immediate and detrimental effect on the value of their farm. The overhead cables would create a substantial risk to using farm machinery. There had been no proper consultation with them, she said.

DOMINIC HARTE, Brackley, also expressed concern about devaluation of his home and property and the visual impact of the pylons. He also questioned whether sufficient provision had been made for flight diverters on the power lines to take account of the flight paths of wildlife at two local lakes. He also enquired about the procedure that would be used for inspecting the power lines, if they got approval.

MICHAEL HALPIN, Barraghy, was represented by Briege Byrne. My home sits between pylons 163 and 164. The power line will run on the edge of my land. EirGrid propose to access pylon 164 by using a lane which is owned by my neighbours Mr and Mrs Charlie Hagan. This lane runs parallel with my own driveway and on past the front door of my house into Mr Hagan’s field where pylon 164 is to be erected. This lane is not capable of taking heavy farm machinery as it is soft ground that runs along a river. From the picture you will see that the edge of the lane which is not defined by a hedgerow is about 4 feet from my front door. This would pose a serious problem for EirGrid. How do they propose to turn in off the road on a bend, go up a soft narrow lane 4 foot from my front door with heavy construction machinery? It is not possible. The machinery would be rubbing off my porch, I would not be fit to use my front doorway. EirGrid will need to cut down my mature trees which are very close to my house. These mature trees are home to a lot of wildlife and bats. This is not acceptable.

Over the last number of years I have spent a lot of time and money updating my house and land. These pylons and overhead power lines are so close to my home that both my home and my land would be worthless, devaluing everything I have worked for. It would leave living in my own home very hard due to the impact on my health and wellbeing.

PAURIC CONNELLY, Barraghy, was represented by Sean Gilliland. EirGrid had not convinced him that there was no medically adverse activity arising from the pylons. The proposed line would be a desecration of the landscape.

Cllr Gilliland asked if EirGrid could inform the hearing how much his land would be devalued if the project was allowed. He had very real concerns and wanted to know if he would get planning permission for any sites to provide new homes if they were near the power lines.

EILEEN MCGUIGAN a neighbour said her home was her castle. She had six grandchildren and was concerned about possible health hazards if a pylon was built nearby. “No pylons—NO-NO-NO!” she stressed. She was applauded as she concluded.

PHIL GEOGHEGAN, Drumillard, was represented by Sean Gilliland. Mr Geoghegan shared access to his holding with seven other people. It was a private lane and they had all contributed to tarring it and contributing to the upkeep. If damage was caused by contractors’ traffic using the lane for access to a pylon construction site, he wanted to know who would pay for it? Mr Geoghegan was totally and utterly opposed to the proposed pylon on his land. Cllr Gilliland pointed out that there were already three power lines crossing his farm and now there could be seven or eight. There would not be much room left on his land holding. He also mentioned that problems had arisen regarding compensation at another infrastructure development in the county.

PATRICK MARRON, was also represented by Sean Gilliland.

Mr Marron, a farmer, had not received any information to date from EirGrid regarding a plan to use part of his land as a guarding location for one of the pylons. He was anxious about this and wondered how EirGrid had managed to put in a planning application without conculting the person who owned the ground for the planned tower. Cllr Gilliland also pointed out that the proposed access route belonged to someone else, a Mr Connolly (see below).

ROBERT ARTHUR of ESB International said in many instances access to pylons went across third party land. He would endeavour to get the details regarding that particular holding.

SEAN GILLILAND pointed out that this landowner was known to EirGrid as maps had been sent to him regarding the previous application. So the company was very well aware of the owner. There had been correspondence with Mr Marron in December 2013, so this was not a case where EirGrid was not aware of who owned the parcels of land.

PATRICK CONNOLLY, Tooa, a landowner, told the hearing he had not received any communication from EirGrid regarding a proposed access route to pylon 170 on the land of the Ward family. When this divergence of opinion became clear a coffee break was called by the presiding inspector.

Upon investigation, EirGrid lawyer Jarlath Fitzsimons said a letter had been sent by tracked mail to Damian and Patrick Connolly on 29th May 2015. It was delivered on to an address at Tooey, Shantonagh, Castleblayney at 9:31am on 4th June 2015, according to a postal track and trace.

Cllr Gilliland said it was strange that a separate letter had not gone out to the two names on the holding, if two parties were involved. He continued to press for information about the proposed access routes that were being used to pylons. One of them, he said, was so overgrown that you could not even wheel a wheelbarrow in there, let alone deliver any concrete unless it was in a bucket.

Following this exchange EirGrid introduced new information regarding seven access routes and eleven minor changes arising from map inaccuracies.

JARLATH FITZSIMONS SC for EirGrid said the application before the Board was for an overhead line and there was no proposal to underground the line. Let’s be clear about it, he told the inspectors. He also said a number of issues raised regarding land valuation, health and tourism had already been answered in previous modules.