Worried families make views clear on pylon project

A WORRIED local mother has told of her fears for her young family if a proposed multi-million electricity network is allowed to be built close to her home.

The Tyrone-Cavan Interconnector - a joint project between ESB and Northern Ireland Electricity - was announced in 2006 to help reduce the network operating costs and strengthen electricity supply on both power systems.

The companies heralded investment of around 120 million (180 million Euros) each in the new interconnector, which was scheduled to be operational no later than 2012.

Residents living along the proposed route, which would take in parts of Moy and Armagh, have made clear their deep opposition to the project, claiming severe health risks to those communities in the vicinity of the new network.

Several hundred people attended a meeting hosted by SEAT (Safe Electricity ArmaghTyrone) in Armagh City Hotel last Thursday evening.

Families and landowners along the line turned out in force to support the campaign for undergrounding the interconnector.

Local schools and churches were well represented as were politicians.

Local resident and SEAT member, Julianne Denvir, was delighted at the turnout.

“This is a clear demonstration of how strong public feeling is on this issue”, said Ms Denvir. “I and many other mothers along this route do not want their children exposed to the potential health risks caused by such powerlines. My three young children will effectively be sleeping under this monstrosity and this scares me. Not enough people are aware that this is a “super-strength” pylon – 400kv is significantly more powerful than the standard 275 kV lines in existence. It is evident that the communities of Armagh and Tyrone do not want this extra-strong powerline to be placed on overhead pylons. Undergrounding is feasible and cost effective. It minimises the risk to the health and welfare of our families, homes and livelihoods. It makes environmental sense to underground this powerline. NIE must listen to the people of Armagh and Tyrone. We do not want this overhead powerline!”

Many local residents living along the proposed route have expressed extreme concern at the potential health risks, the damage to environment and wildlife, devastation of an area of unique heritage and culture and certain devaluation of homes and property, which could result from the overhead lines proposed.

John Woods, a SEAT committee member, believes that undergrounding thd line will be safer, more efficient and more reliable. In addition, Mr Woods claims that over the 40-year lifespan of the line, 163 million Euros would be saved if the interconnector was placed underground in a parallel cable system.

SEAT were joined at the meeting by their sister organisation south of the border – NEPP (North East Pylon Pressure).

Those in attendance were urged to make their objections to the proposal clear when a formal planning application is made for the project. Readers can text or phone the SEAT Helpline for further details on 07549171023.