COLOURFUL, CO-ORDINATED and clearly distinguishable stood a whopping 1,500 protestors at Trim Castle last Friday as they voiced their opposition to EirGrid. Dressed in bright yellow ponchos and waving protest placards and colourful red balloons, crowds of concerned families gathered against EirGrid's proposed 58 kilometres of high power lines through the North East.
The massive entourage of protestors from the North East Pylons Pressure (NEPP) group gathered outside the spring seminar of the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland (AMAI), which was attended by several hundred councillors from all over Ireland.
The delegation met the keynote speaker at the conference, Maire Hoctor TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health, to outline their case. Ms Hoctor was standing in for Minister John Gormley, who had pulled out of the conference, at which he had been due to be the keynote speaker.
NEPP chairman Francis Lally said: "We will remain united until we have achieved our aim - the complete undergrounding of EirGrid's high power cables in the north-east.
"More than 26 schools and over 20 GAA clubs are in the line of just one of the possible routes for the overhead power lines and this cannot be allowed to happen."
A spokesman for Trim gardai said: "It was a well-organised protest which passed off very peacefully, with no disruption to traffic." Speaking at the protest rally, NEPP campaign coordinator Aimee Treacy said: "Our protest is a show of solidarity amongst the residents of the neighbouring counties of Meath Monaghan and Cavan.
"If EirGrid's proposed line is not put underground, it will mean many other towns, villages and lands in the rest of the country may face a similar fate.
"EirGrid is committed to a further 600 kilometres of cables and pylons anywhere from Donegal to Wexford and we must stop this happening," she said.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, a delegation from NEPP will brief the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in Leinster House.
The NEPP group will also make a submission to the international consultants appointed by the Government to report the case on overhead lines versus underground cabling.