A protest rally at one of the Comeraghs’ most scenic spots on Saturday was told of the importance of preserving the mountains’ unspoilt, unique landscape by stopping the €500m Grid Link powerline being located near the range.
More than 1500 men, women and children braved the cold and rain to take part in the mile long protest walk that snaked up the mountainside to the Mahon Falls.
The protest walk attracted members of anti-pylons action groups and concerned residents from areas stretching from Kilcash, Carrick-on-Suir and Piltown to Rathgormack, Kilmacthomas and west Waterford. Contingents from community groups, national schools and sports clubs also took part.
At the rally at Mahon Falls, Michael O’Donoghue of the Comeraghs Rathgormack K9 Pylons Prevention Group and Rathgormack Ramblers Walking Club, said it was vital to maintain the Comeragh’s unspoilt landscape. It was a unique landscape of national importance, one of the biggest Special Areas of Conservation in Co. Waterford and one of the best examples of glacial upland landscapes in the country.
He highlighted the importance of that landscape to attracting tourists interested in outdoor holidays. “That is what we should be trying to promote not this crap,” he declared.
Independent TD Mattie McGrath urged anti-pylon campaigners from counties Tipperary and Waterford to stand together to fight against Eirgrid’s plans.
He drew the loudest cheer of the rally as he paraphrased Churchill’s famous wartime battle speech and pledged: “We are going to fight this in the streets, on the roads and in the fields.” He called on Energy and Natural Resources Ministers Pat Rabbitte not to allow this new overground network. “Show him where the Comeragh mountains are. Show him what a sheep looks like. But above all, show him how we’re going to stand against this madness, “ he declared.
Carrick-on-Suir cycling legend Sean Kelly had been scheduled to lead the walk and was disappoined he was unable to attend because he was delayed on business in Belgium.
He said erecting this powerline near the Comeraghs can’t be allowed happen.
“This should be put underground. It would be a shame to put those big pylons on the countryside. It would be such an eyesore.”