The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association says the expert panel appointed to oversee the examination of power line undergrounding options must ensure that the costings include a realistic level of compensation for landowners.
ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin said: “ICSA cautiously welcomes the establishment of the expert panel, which we had called for in our submission on the Grid Link project. It remains to be seen if the terms of reference will be adequate to ensure satisfactory examination of the issues.
“It will be vital that the panel does its costings on the basis of realistic compensation for landowners. The compensation being suggested by EirGrid as it stands would be insufficient to cover the impact of the proposed powerlines.”
Mr Gilmartin said ICSA had serious concerns from the outset that the EirGrid had decided at an early stage in the process to discount undergrounding as an option and instead focus on an overhead solution.
“We also found it alarming that EirGrid appeared to have very little regard to agriculture in the Grid Link Stage 1 report, outside of references to the landscape. As we outlined in our submission, the report fails to make the critical connection between farm land and working family farms. I hope very much that the independent panel will be more connected to and engaged with the people and communities concerned,” he said.