‘I won’t let my dream of life in the unspoilt Irish countryside be destroyed’: Dad’s pledge against pylons
A young dad who came home to raise his family in a rural Irish beauty spot has opened up about his battle to prevent the area from being ruined by hundreds of towering pylons and humming wind turbines.
Returned emigrant Paddy Massey, 36, left a new life in the UK behind so that he and his wife Annabel and their kids could grow up in the unspoilt Irish countryside.
Instead he discovered that their town of Lismore in Co Waterford was one of the areas worst hit by state plans to upgrade the national grid system by erecting hundreds of ugly pylons across the country.
Eyesore wind turbines have also gone up all over his native country to provide power.
Paddy – dad to Abraham, 5, Saoirse, 4, and Aine, 2, – came home in 2012 and was so concerned by the destruction it would cause the local environment that he helped set up anti-pylon campaign group, ReThink Pylons.
The private estate manager revealed: “I’m passionate about the countryside and protecting it and keeping big industry out of renewable energy.
“What is happening at the moment is utterly ridiculous – this pylon project is madness.”
Like Paddy, the Mirror is campaigning against Eirgrid’s project to erect up to 1,500 gigantic pylons as tall as 60m across 700km of Ireland as part of a €3.2 billion network upgrade.
We want to halt the 2,000 new wind turbines up to 130m high – with rotors the width of Croke Park – planned for the country’s beauty spots to provide the power.
Paddy explained: “We had been living in Cornwall and it’s a small place with a million people in it and another million descending in Summer.
“We wanted the quietness and peace of Ireland, the low-density population, the great sense of community.
“Instead it seems our children will be living in a landscape that resembles the back of a hedgehog – and paying energy costs through the nose for the privilege.
“There are these gigantic super-turbines all over the landscape, 127 metres tall. The place is ruined. The pylons involved are 60 metres tall.
“The size of the wind turbines have to be seen to be understood, they are vast. And under current laws, you could find one as close to 500 metres from your home.
“Eight have gone up a few miles from us and there are 11 behind us in Ballyduff, and a further 12 beside us have gone in for planning. There are hundreds planned for Waterford.
“It’s not just how they dominate the landscape, and the health effects experienced by those living near them.”
ReThink Pylons have come up with an alternative plan that costs just a 10th of Eirgrid’s €3 billion project.
Converting Ireland’s largest power station, Moneypoint in Co Clare from coal to biomass would make it possible to meet Irish renewable energy targets for 2020.
Biomass is produced from organic materials, either directly from plants or indirectly from industrial, commercial, domestic or agricultural products.
Two of Britain’s top energy consultants carried out a report on the alternative plan and found it would work.
And Paddy believes that if we don’t shout stop, we will regret it for generations.
He insisted: “People can become complacent, we have busy lives and are struggling to drag ourselves out of recession, it’s hard enough to make a living and pay the mortgage.
“So these kind of subjects can be difficult to talk about – until it’s too late.
“I came back here for a good life for my children and I really feel if we go down the route of building all these proposed windfarms that in ten years time we will be looking at our country and going: ‘What did we do?’”
Eirgrid has planned three routes for the pylons and Grid Link will see pylons from Kildare to Wexford and across to Cork.
Grid West will see pylons snake across beautiful Co Mayo and into Roscommon. The third route, the North-South Interconnector, will travel from Meath to Tyrone.
Eirgrid says these are necessary to upgrade the network.
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