REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 341

Revolt news 2/10/2011 Print (pdf) Version

1. 65-year old landowner Teresa Treacy has been jailed in Ireland since 13 September after refusing to allow workers on her land to construct the Cushaling to Thornsberry line. The Irish High Court had granted the companies ESB and Eirgrid an Order allowing them to proceed with their works in August. The Teresa Treacy Support Group has maintained a stand-off with construction workers. The crux of the matter seems to be the likely destruction of trees to make way for the line. Such matters should be decided on reasonableness, which seems sadly missing if a landowner concerned about destruction of trees is put in jail. The support group calls for a suspension of the work to allow fair and proper negotiation, but the power companies seek to finish the work “as soon as possible”. Having witnessed the proceedings of Leeds High Court over a Yorkshire landowner in a similar situation, though she didn’t go to jail, I do doubt the quality of reasonableness and fairness in these cases.

2. Patrick McGinnity from Northern Ireland reports the Irish Times published an edited version of his letter and others on 29 Sept. The "Letter of The Day" in The Irish Independent was from John Fitzgerald in Kilkenny in support of Teresa, lauding Teresa’s “beloved” oak, ash and birch she had tended. The Irish Examiner printed Patrick’s letter in full, putting Teresa proudly in the noble company of Rosa Parks of Alabama in resisting the iron hand of oppression. The Irish Daily Mail again did a full one page article as part of its "Free The Tree Lady" campaign. Perhaps the strong-arm tactics of ESB/Eirgrid against a 65 year old woman will yet backfire?

3. Patrick further reports the public were invited by the Teresa Treacy Support Group to assist on Saturday 1 Oct at a mass planting of saplings on her land. Hundreds of ash and oak trees have been donated to the Teresa Treacy Support Group by nurseries in Tullamore and County Wicklow. I don’t know if they or Teresa might be contravening the High Court Order by such actions, but what moral value can such an Order have when it jails a 65 year old woman over what should surely be a civil matter for ESB/Eirgrid, perhaps with financial penalty but not burdening the state by taking up prison places? Is this not reckless behaviour by the authorities at these times of crisis in public finances?

4. The Teresa Treacy Support Group set up a Facebook page which says that ESB is seeking to construct a 110kV overhead line and are in the process of destroying 12,000 trees on 12 acres of woodland in order to construct double-woodpole and steel tower masts.

5. From the wall at the support group’s facebook Saturday 1 Oct, trees are arriving in the hundreds and supporters are building a tree nursery on the land to nurture saplings not ready for planting. Friends have set up a camp to protect the land night and day. People are coming and going all the time with donations, food and equipment. Teresa's land is 3 miles east of Tullamore on the Ballinagar road.

6. There is to be a demonstration at the grid company ESB in St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, 12pm-2pm on Tue 4 Oct. Ireland’s national TV, the RTE, is to do a Prime Time Special on Tuesday evening.

7. The ESB is reported as having used use the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) to negotiate a compensation package with the landowners, most of them farmers. Teresa Treacy stood to gain up to approximately 150,000 euro in 3 staged payments if she agreed to the project and on condition that no legal costs were incurred by the ESB if they had to go to court, in which case the last 2 payments would be 'forfeited'. This deal, negotiated by the IFA over the course of 2 years, seemed to appease most of the landowners before they could be organised. By the summer of 2011 Teresa Treacy was the only one refusing access to the ESB.

8. Searching the ESB web site 2-10-11 found no comment on the case of Teresa Treacy or the issue of the line on her land. There were no occurrences of words like Treacy, Mountjoy or prison, and searches for Cushaling found only 3 technical items.

9. An example in Ireland of voluntary undergrounding for 110kV is from Ballywater windfarm to Crane substation (22km) near Wexford (news213.5). The following link has pictures showing just how benign it is, under fields and roads. The cost was only of the same order as an overhead alternative, sufficiently for undergrounding to be chosen voluntarily.

Statements made by the editor or by other parties and quoted for information do not necessarily represent the views of Revolt. Criticism of government and industry, and grievances from members of the public, are in the nature of Revolt's work, though we try to give credit where it is due. Revolt is strictly non-party-political and regrets any offence which may be inadvertently caused.




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