I fully support the community in Rush in their determined battle to ensure that the proposed Eirgrid high voltage DC cable is re-routed away from the hundreds of houses on the route from Kilbush Lane, Skerries Road, Main Street, and Channel Road.
I salute residents who have organised on this issue, convened meetings and stepped up the pressure on both Eirgrid and the political establishment. We pledge to do whatever we can to support this critical community campaign in the coming weeks and months.
Route Can Be Altered!
It is a disgrace that given the concerns that have been expressed that Eirgrid are still stream rolling ahead regardless! Everybody agrees that an East-West interconnector is welcome. But just because the chosen route has been approved by An Bord Pleanala, doesn’t mean that it has to take that path.
How many people have previously got planning permission for something only to change their minds at a later date and submit new plans? This is a perfectly normal and regular occurrence and there is no reason why it can’t happen in this case other than the fact that there is a lack of political will to do so.
Fingal County Council Facilitates Eirgrid, not Residents!
Eirgrid has stated that the original plans to go through Ratoath were altered and the town bypassed at the request of Meath County Council. Fingal County Council on the other hand, rather than assisting residents in Rush has actively facilitated Eirgrid at every turn while simultaneously ignoring the community.
Council management gave permission to Eirgrid to access public roads at two locations in Rush without any recourse to the elected councillors. The antics that occurred at the Council meeting on Monday July 12th were astounding. Originally Eirgrid asked permission under Section 183 of the Planning Act for a way leave across the two roads. Under this procedure it is only the councillors who can decide. When it became obvious that the councillors would vote against it, the management pulled the item and said they needed legal advice and a special meeting was convened.
Meanwhile prior to that special meeting, Eirgrid came in for a meeting with Council management and suddenly decided to opt for a different method of accessing the land – a method which coincidently had been outlined by the Council’s solicitor!!! The Council management then granted them permission for this before the councillors meeting took place!! This is a total affront to democracy and a deliberate frustration of the wishes of the community. It was precisely because your campaign was having an effect on the councillors that they pulled the plug and decided to attempt to force it through by a different method. This should not go unchallenged and Clare Daly has requested a further legal opinion for the councillors on what has taken place.
Very Valid Reasons to Insist on Re-routing from the town!
It is quite clear that there are powerful interests pushing this project. Meanwhile for residents of Rush the facts remain;
- Rogerstown Estuary which is a special area of conservation, was not so special that the sewerage pipes couldn’t be laid through it, leading people to correctly say that there is no reason why the cable can’t take this route also.
- High Voltage DC cables are new to Ireland and should avoid population centres. In all other interconnector projects internationally, populated areas have been avoided such a the Moyle interconnector between Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the interconnector between Sweden and Poland. It’s not unreasonable for Rush residents to demand parity of treatment with everyone else around the globe.
- Studies conducted by the Oxford Childhood Cancer Research, among others have stated that the risk of Leukaemia is doubled at 0.4 Micronesia. Eirgrid has stated that the output will be 0.6 Micronesia at 10 metres. This involves hundreds of houses and the national school situated on the route where exposure will be 24/7. It is unacceptable to expect parents to expose their children to potentially serious adverse health effects. The precautionary principle should apply and the town avoided.
- It is galling to note that Lusk was rejected as a potential route because it was “heavily populated” and Donabate because it was “heavily trafficked”. We are not in any way suggesting that the cable should be re-routed through those towns, it shouldn’t but this example exposes how flawed the methodology used was, given that Rush beats both of them on both counts, with a bigger population and greater through flow of traffic. It’s clear that they got that wrong, so how much more is wrong also!
There is more than sufficient evidence to suggest that residents are absolutely right to hold firm on this and to insist on a re-routing. Eirgrid is a semi-state body, set up by and answerable to government. Government and the Minister have the power to halt the works and instruct Eirgrid to take a different route. There are three government TDs in the area, including a former Minister. These people are the people in power and either they exercise that power in the interest of the community or what benefit is it to residents having them there.
The clock is ticking. Already works have begun on the project. The community needs action. Substantial pressure must be brought to bear on the government reps, and they should be left in no uncertain terms that either this route is voluntarily altered by Eirgrid or residents will frustrate the work if necessary. Do they really want another Rossport on their doorstep?
Enough is enough! Reroute the cable away from Rush! I, together with me other Socialist Party colleagues, will assist this campaign in any way we can. If enough residents get involved and demonstrate their opposition then a U-turn can be forced. Don’t leave it to someone else. Contact the government TDs today and demand that they deliver.