Laois Nationalist – Advisors on the new Eirgrid community forum of the controversial Laois substation
By Joe Barrett
Thomasina Connell, cllr of FINE Gael, has been appointed representative of Portlaoise City Council at the Eirgrid Laois Kilkenny Reinforcement Project Community Forum.
She now joins Fianna Fáil cllr Paschal McEvoy of the Graiguecullen / Portarlington Municipal District Council as two elected representatives of Laois County Council on the forum.
She was nominated for the post at the October meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District by Fianna Fáil cllr and the Municipal District cathaoirleach John Joe Fennelly and seconded by her party colleague cllr Catherine Fitzgerald.
The new Laois Kilkenny Community Building Forum was created by ESB Networks and Eirgrid and is overseen by Irish Rural Link.
In a statement last December, Eirgrid and ESB Networks confirmed that they would establish a voluntary community forum early in the new year, as recommended by Irish Rural Link in its independent evaluation of the Laois Kilkenny strengthening project in October 2019.
They said, “In recognition of the importance of working closely with communities, Eirgrid will launch a community fund project in 2021. It is expected that the voluntary community forum, through its civic, social and policies, will assist in the administration of the fund. The forum will also receive regular updates on the ESB Networks construction program.
“The creation of a community forum was one of the main recommendations of Irish Rural Link, an independent organization commissioned by ESB Networks to assess the current understanding of the project by the community.
“The Eirgrid Community Fund recognizes the importance of local communities in the development of the electricity grid. The fund is proportional to the size of a project.
The overall fund for the Laois-Kilkenny strengthening project is around € 500,000. When allocating the fund, account will be taken of the amount of new infrastructure in each county. “