IFA’s Offaly County Chairman Joe Parlon has accused both the ESB and EirGrid of using heavy-handed tactics in their dealings with farmers, following the imprisonment of a landowner in Tullamore this week.
Speaking after an angry exchange with the utility companies, Joe Parlon said, “In a twenty-year period up to 2008, no landowner was ever imprisoned during the construction of thousands of kilometres of power-lines. However, since then EirGrid and ESB have taken over 10 landowners to the High Court, seeking that they be imprisoned. This heavy-handed approach has the potential to undermine the substantial progress made in power-line construction, and is no substitute for the long-established and successful consultation process that has evolved with farmers.”
Mr Parlon said, “The jailing of farmers for the facilitation of infrastructure projects is totally unacceptable, and results from negotiating tactics that disregard the rights of landowners. The construction of power lines is flexible, unlike road or rail building, and it is essential that the needs of landowners as well as utility companies are understood.”