Farmers fear for land and Ireland’s ‘clean, green’ image

The president of the ICMSA has said a new network of overhead power lines would not only impact directly affected landowners – but could also damage Ireland’s agri-food image abroad.

The president of the ICMSA has said a new network of overhead power lines would not only impact directly affected landowners – but could also damage Ireland’s agri-food image abroad.

At the group’s AGM last Friday, John Comer said members were becoming increasingly angry with the way rural Ireland was being treated. Addressing his remarks to Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, who sat beside him, Mr Comer said a lot of work had been done to get the ‘Green and Clean’ Irish brand out in the markets, and a long line of large pylons running through farming heartlands would do terrible damage.

“I believe sincerely that this kind of plan has the capacity to wipe out decades of successful marketing and hard work on all our behalves,” he said.

Mr Comer referred to the Kilkenny region as one of Europe’s most intensive food-producing districts. He said the public was angry, and all the talk about consultation so far was just ‘blather’.

He also said that the decisions were being made by a group of people who lived far from the areas that would suffer the impact of these pylons.

“Everyone accepts the need for the ongoing upgrade of power supplies, but we all know that Eirgrid won’t ever be seeking planning permission for a 400kv powerline through Clontarf or Clondalkin,” he said.

“That won’t be happening but apparently it’s good enough for the people in Clara or The Comeraghs.”

Kilkenny ICMSA will host a public meeting at The Spring Hill Court Hotel next Monday, December 2 at 8pm. The meeting will be addressed by Michael O’ Neill of Glanbia on ‘Milk Contracts Post-Quota’, John Hickey of the firm of Poe, Kiely, Hogan, Lanigan, solicitors, on ‘Succession, Wills and Farmers forming Companies’ ’and Ben Fogarty of IFAC ‘Taxation treatment of Farmers forming Companies’. All queries to Chairman of Kilkenny ICMSA, John Robinson, Callan, 087-7982230.