Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that a protest and information meeting held in Cahir house Hotel concerning Eirgrid?s proposed Gridlink project was a massive success and was filled to capacity with committed and well informed Tipperary residents. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the meeting which was held on Tuesday night attracted up to 400 people and heard from a number of excellent contributors and speakers about the deep and lasting impact the pylon project would have on both the natural and human environment;
?The meeting exceeded our best hopes and expectations and demonstrated that the people of Tipperary are not prepared to sit back and swallow the commercially driven misinformation that Eirgrid have propagated over the last number of months. Everyone who spoke contributed in a calm and measured way while at the same time leaving Eirgrid in doubt that there is seething anger about the devastation that will ensue if this project goes ahead. We looked very carefully at all the claims that Eirgrid are making in terms of cost benefit analysis and the impact on the beautiful scenic environment and each of them was challenged with reasoned counter arguments that Eirgrid must now take on board. I have continually stressed the point that any issue of this scale which affects the community must have a corresponding level of community gain; that is simply not the case here and that is why it is being opposed. We are simply not interested in the cost to Eirgrid, this is our county, this is our homeland and we will not have it destroyed for the sake of potential costs that could be easily absorbed over the lifetime of the project.?
Eirgrid have responded to the meeting by calling the concerns of the residents ?sensationalist? and ?uninformed.? They have stressed that what is proposed as an alternative by those opposed to the project; to underground the cables, is simply not feasible and will be technically inferior:
?Eirgrid have something of a brass neck to be engaging with the concerns of Tipperary residents in such a dismissive and patronising manner. There is ample international evidence and a wealth of studies out there to support the legitimacy of the concerns that were raised. It is simply not good enough for Eirgrid to talk about how public acceptability is key to their work while at the same time rejecting out of hand any indication of unacceptability by that very same public. This is not an issue that will be won by carefully crafted spin and manipulation of the facts by Eirgrid. We have seen how seriously they take public concern by how they have dealt with local elected representatives so far. They have bulldozed their agenda and shot down alternative proposals because what is key to them is not the integrity of the environment or the impact on people?s lives and property but rather completing this project in as commercially profitable a manner as possible regardless of the fears and worries of the people it will directly affect. They will soon discover that the people of Tipperary are no walk over and that this is merely the beginning of vigorous and committed campaign? concluded Deputy McGrath.