Opposition to intolerable proposal

Communities across the country are angry and frustrated yet determined to oppose Eirgrid’s intolerable proposal to erect 250 monster pylons, carrying 400 kVA overhead power lines across Munster and Leinster, Tipperary Independent Deputy Seamus Healy told the Dail.

Communities across the country are angry and frustrated yet determined to oppose EirGrid’s intolerable proposal to erect 250 monster pylons, carrying 400 kVA overhead power lines across Munster and Leinster, Tipperary Independent Deputy Seamus Healy told the Dáil.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions, he said thousands of people turned out for meetings in opposition to these plans and there had been significant development over the Christmas and New Year.

“The first was the revelation that there have been 35,000 submissions to EirGrid in opposition to these plans, and that shows the depth and strength of feeling of opposition to these proposals,” he said. “In its submission, Fáilte Ireland has also criticised these EirGrid plans, and that body has particular relevance with regard to tourism and job creation. Every week Government Oireachtas Members and MEPs are appearing on the front pages of local newspapers and on local radio to oppose EirGrid’s plans. I welcome this and hope it is not just another election promise to be broken when the local and European elections are over.”

Deputy Healy said the newly appointed chair of EirGrid had said he would not live near these pylons and in the Irish Examiner, half of the Government Deputies living along the proposed route, some of them sitting behind the Taoiseach as we speak, have stated they would not live near these pylons.

“Almost three quarters have stated that this project would damage the landscape and tourism, and several have stated that they do not believe EirGrid’s claim that there are no health implications,” he said.

The Minister for Health indicated his concern about these pylons and the link with childhood cancers, he said. He referenced the Dublin City University public health expert, Professor Anthony Staines, who has stated that “it is well established that low-frequency magnetic fields increase the risk of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia”.

In reply, the Taoiseach said it is right that in a democracy we have always had differing views about major pieces of infrastructure, such as motorways, turbines, pylons, gas connectors, major buildings etc.

“This is very normal in Ireland,” he said. “I also believe that our people are well able to make decisions at the end of the day in respect of the best action to take in the interest of our country. We need to be able to provide an infrastructure that will cater for the next 50 years - for those who come after us - in the context of power supply, capacity to do business, provide employment etc. It is a question of how to do it. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Rabbitte, is dealing with this.”

McGrath highlights plundering of Glengarra Youth Hostel

The recent plundering of Glengarra Youth Hostel on the slopes of the Galtees was raised in the Dáil by Independent Deputy Mattie McGrath.

Speaking on the Order of Dáil Business he asked the Taoiseach about the Government’s plans for the protection of buildings from being plundered for precious metals.

“Buildings are being plundered. Even the Glengarra youth hostel was plundered,” he said. “ It is located in a lovely scenic part of County Tipperary. A significant number of buildings are being plundered and we need a Bill to provide for traceability in the industry. The Minister promised to introduce his own Bill more than two years ago. Is there any sign of this Bill or any chance of protecting listed buildings and our heritage?”

In reply the Taoiseach said he was not sure what had happened the Bill but he would communicate with the Deputy on the matter.

Hayes points to 
increasing role of An Post in banking services

The current services at any An Post outlet allow AIB customers to make cash lodgements for personal and business customers, avail of cash withdrawals up to a certain limit per day, pay their credit cards bills and use any of An Post’s own brand services, including bill payments, postal drafts and foreign currency, Minister of State Tom Hayes told the Dáil.

In addition, he said AIB plans to build on this successful relationship with An Post and has arranged for additional banking facilitates to be available in over 90 selected outlets. “AIB and An Post management are working together at local, regional and national level to ensure the successful launch of this enhanced service,” he said. “An Post staff will be fully trained to offer this new service in advance of the branch closure dates.”

Minister Hayes was replying to Cork North West Deputy Aine Collins who said An Post should “get its banking act together” and facilitate customers by developing a structure for opening standard bank accounts.

The role of An Post is one of the issues which will be dealt with in the preparations for the roll-out of the standard bank account, he said.

“While An Post is not part of the clearing system operated by the retail banks it none the less provides a range of banking services to those who do not have a bank account, including facilities for paying bills and operating savings accounts,” he added. “An Post is also the main outlet for the State’s various savings schemes, such as post office bonds and savings certificates, and the national solidarity bond. The Deputy will also be aware that in order to mitigate certain AIB branch closures, AIB intends to strengthen its long standing relationship with An Post and at the same time is also launching a new mobile banking service to provide certain banking services to customers in remote locations.”




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