ESB powerline work could cause miscarriages in our mares and cows, trainer tells High Court


Frank Dunne, a member of the Dunnes Stores family, has brought an action in the High Court for access to his stud farm for repair work on a power line.

The renowned owner and trainer claims that workers’ access to land in Dunboyne, Co. Meath will affect the breeding farm and farm.

Mr Dunne was the owner and trainer of Stanerra, the only Irish horse to win the Japan Cup.

He and horse breeder Ann Marshall, along with their company Hamwood Stud, have undertaken two separate but related actions to rehabilitate the 14-mile power line between Maynooth and Woodland as part of the ESB and Eirgrid project.

Mr. Dunne and Ms. Marshall say the proposed work will have a “significant impact” on their valuable bloodstock and breeding operations, at the risk of damaging Hamwood Stud’s “worldwide” reputation, and with a “real prospect” of fetal abortions in their mares and cows.

They say they became aware of the proposed works when the ESB issued them a waiver notice last February demanding access to their land following contested statutory statements by Kildare and Meath County Councils that these works would be on the developments excluded from the EirGrid line.

In a draft of the development plan, Eirgrid says upgrades to the line are needed due to transmission grid constraints and to secure additional capacity. The refurbishment is said to extend the service life of the 220 kV line by 35 years.

In their lawsuit, the horse breeders allege that mistakes were made at various stages of the planning process because there was an alleged “direct link” between the line project and the development of a substation for multinational technology company Intel.

They claim that these projects should have been considered cumulatively.

It is also alleged that the procedure for requests for tax-exempt development under the Planning and Development Act 2016 violates European Union law.

Mr Dunne and Ms Marshall also allege that there have been various shortcomings in the environmental assessment of the impacts of these two projects together, in breach of the Habitats Directive. They also argue that their right to public participation in the planning process has been violated.

Her case is against Kildare County Council, Meath County Council, Eirgrid PLC, the Attorney General and Ireland. In their second lawsuit, they are seeking an order overturning the ESB’s decision to issue orders relating to access to their land.

Justice Charles Meenan granted the applicants permission to pursue their judicial review actions. He adjourned the matter. ESB powerline work could cause miscarriages in our mares and cows, trainer tells High Court

Fry Electronics Team

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