Tuesday, May 10, 2022

A planning application for EirGrid’s North Connacht 110 kV project is to be submitted by the end of the month.

The underground cable route will run 60km from the Moy Substation in Ballina to to the Tonroe Substation in Ballaghaderreen. It is hoped that works will begin in 2023, with a view to being completed in 2026.

Project manager with EirGrid Jason Kenna told the monthly meeting of the Mayo County Council that they plan to submit a planning application to An Bord Pleanála at the end of the month.

EirGrid was thanked by various members of the council for the levels of consultation with the public along the route, which will travel along the N5 for 23km and the N26 for 11km and 17km on local roads. There will be a number of crossings on the Moy, where they will bore holes underneath the river for the cable to travel through.

Swinford is the only town that the cable will pass through via the Station Road, Davitt Place and the Kilkelly Road.

Cathaoirleach Cllr Michael Smyth was unhappy with the lack of consultation with the people of Swinford and it would a “serious issue” is there was not an agreement reached pre-planning. He said he wants to see a lasting legacy in the town and this was not “purple book standard”.

Cllr Jarlath Munnelly also asked if the line will have enough capacity with a proposed data centre at the former Asahi site, while Cllr Michael Loftus asked if they would be able to provide the energy for the many proposed windfarms in North Mayo.

Cllr Loftus also wondered could the council open its own windfarm, citing that Oweninny Wind Farm made €13 million in profit last year.

Cllr Mark Duffy suggested a solution was to create energy and locally and use it locally, rather than sending it to eastern part of the county or the continent.

Westport-based Cllr John O’Malley asked would EirGrid come to an agreement with houseowners along the route, or would they go down the route of Compulsory Purchase Orders. Mr Kenna said they would come to the best possible agreement with every landowner.

Cllr Gerry Coyle said that the people of Erris want to “export energy and not people”, and that they should not forget about the people that have to live near these windmills.

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