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Concern about proposed route for 110kV power line through east Mayo town

CONCERN about the proposed route for EirGrid's North Connacht 110kV power line through Swinford has been flagged by councillors.

Construction on the underground line, running from sub stations in Ballaghaderreen to Ballina, via Swinford, is due to commence towards the end of 2025.

Swinford town is proving a bit of a tricky part of the route to navigate.

The proposed route coming in the Ballina Road will see it turn right up Circular Road, Station Road, Davitt Place and the Kilkelly Road before going out to the N5.

However, Councillor Adrian Forkan has questioned the project team about the impact of this route in an area where there are two school buildings and access to a third in addition to a local GP, library and council headquarters.

Councillor Neil Cruise also asked about the possibility of swinging left with the line on the approach to Swinford.

He was told there are issues there with physical constraints and the ground already 'choked' with underground services. The route above had been deemed the best performing one.

Elected representatives in the Claremorris-Swinford Municipal District received an update on the project from EirGrid at their monthly meeting and they welcomed that this vital piece of infrastructure, which is 60 kilometres in length, is progressing.

Project manager Paul Doherty explained how tender documents are being prepared, with construction to start in Quarter 4 of 2025, with final energisation in early 2028. With the cable running largely along the road, traffic management will be part of the project and a liaison officer will be available throughout.

In reply to Councillor Gerry Murray, he said it was envisaged that they will be on the ground in Swinford for six months. Councillors Murray and Forkan both asked that night-time works be considered and were told that all options will be looked at.

Councillor Forkan asked if the Swinford town route was 100% finalised and asked why they hadn't gone left with it.

He was told the works would be done during school summer holidays and local access and services would be maintained. The other route suggested had existing services that they couldn't negotiate.

Councillor Cruise confessed that he found the idea of going right instead of left 'baffling'. It seemed more prudent than going up Circular Road.

Councillor John Caulfield asked that they work with local businesses who are hard-pressed enough without having further constraints put on them.

This is vital infrastructure, said Councillor Finn, and without it there would be no progress in the west. He noted how EirGrid have bent over backwards in trying to accommodate people.