20 February 2006

Landowners prepare to be jailed over power line protest


20/02/2006 - 13:50:39

A group of Co Cork landowners today vowed to continue their battle against an ESB power line across their property as the energy firm attempted to secure a High Court injunction blocking their protests.

Despite having no legal representation, the Bantry Concerned Action Group have said they are prepared to defy court orders and go to jail in their fight to stop work on the 14km line.

The landowners, led by farmer Joe Burke, appeared in the High Court in Dublin today as lawyers for ESB began moves to secure an order calling on the men to end their protest.

The BCAG have said they will physically block ESB crews from accessing their land.

Mr Justice Liam McKechnie granted the group four weeks to file affidavits with the court, outlining their position and explaining their objections to the line. The case will be heard the following week.

Mr Burke told the court they wanted the line put underground on safety grounds.

It is understood solicitor Greg Casey, who acted as a legal advisor for the Rossport Five and has been working with the Bantry protesters, will no longer represent the group. Mr Burke said retaining the services of a solicitor was proving too costly.

The 14km power line is scheduled to run from a windfarm planned by Ballybane Windfarms at Glantia Commons near Caheragh, Drimoleague to a sub-station at Ballylickey near Bantry.

The protesters claim the route of the line is not what they agreed to and have insisted that it does not match the route they were shown on plans.

They have four weeks to file affidavits before the case comes before Mr Justice McKechnie on March 27.

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