The Power and the greed: coming your way soon



Imagine a beautiful landscape painting by someone like Gainsborough or Constable. Now imagine you come into the gallery one day and see that someone has scratched several vertical lines across the painting and has drawn half a dozen vertical lines between the vertical ones. What effect would you say that made on the painting? Right – ruined it. Completely.

Now look out your window – what do you see? Chances are you see electrical lines running from poles everywhere. Drive out into the country and you’ll see huge electrical pylons cutting across the landscape with their connecting lines. We’ve grown so used to them, we hardly notice them any more. But next time, imagine the landscape without these monstrosities. Improvement or what?

Now in the south of our country Eirgrid is proposing a major plan to run hundreds of high voltage lines hundreds of kilometres from Leinster to Munster. Some of the pylons will be over forty-three metres high. What’s more, they’re planning a similar defacement of the countryside with their North-South interconnector, from Meath to Tyrone.

“But we need electricity!” you say. Indeed we do – loss of power for even a few hours shows us just how much we depend on it. And electricity needs lines to run along. But here’s the thing: the lines don’t have to run between massive pylons. They could be run underground. It’d involve major disruption and digging, and it’d very likely hike the price of installation. But it can be done.

And before you dismiss the idea as flying-pigs poppycock, ask yourself this: do you think electricity is supplied because the suppliers like us? Or is it because they make a profit?  I think even your dullest dotard could tell you the answer to that one. The reason they’re not prepared to run the lines underground is that it would cost them, at least initially. But they’d soon find ways to recoup any such loss, I promise you. Just think what a transformation that would make to our beautiful countryside. Even in terms of tourism, it would be a massive selling factor: nature without electrical vandalism. But even forget tourists: don’t we deserve to have our own countryside and its beauty available to us, without defacement by money-hungry companies?

There’s a debate in the south about whether these major plans should be allowed to proceed, or whether the electrical people should think again and go for the buried-lines option. Here’s where I make a prediction (yes, Virginia, I’m not much use at predicting but I feel I’m on safe ground here): both the northern and southern government with give a thumb’s-up to the defacement of a massive parts of our countryside. What’s more, they’ll try to sell it to us as necessary if we want electricity, which is a lie. We want and need electricity, but it doesn’t have to come to us at the price of putting massive metal monsters and wires across the beautiful countryside that we all have a right to feast our eyes on.  Once more, profit will trump aesthetics. Or even, in some cases, public health. And what shouldn’t happen will happen.


18 Responses to The Power and the greed: coming your way soon

  1. chris February 5, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Well done Jude good to see the environmentalist come out in you, those gruesome Pylons would certainly be a blot on the landscape never mind the unforeseen health risks, keep up the good work.

  2. willow February 5, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    Are they anymore a blot on the landscape than the road network? Perhaps we should be digging tunnels for our vehicular transport?

    • chris February 5, 2014 at 10:08 am #

      Better still maybe we should revert back a 1000 years and live in tunnels?

    • quarecuss February 8, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

      Dead on, willow!
      All power lines and private cars should be in “subways” underground where they can spew their crap at each other and the CO2 can be easily sequestered. On the surface … humans and other animals breathing freely.
      oak eh?

  3. PW February 5, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    Nice article Jude. Irelands biggest industry will always be tourism. Each and every plan from pylons right down to town planning should have a remit on how a proposal will enhance tourism. A quick profit by the developers costs all of in the long run. I’m not saying that we need to live in the past, however I’m sure many an Irish American is disappointed when they land on these shore.

    • paddykool February 5, 2014 at 11:22 am #

      This is the same fight that’s being waged across the planet, should it be strip mining, fracking or de-forestation of the rain forests. Greedy men will walk all over us for their own ends. Either we make choices and fight them at every turn for idealistic reasons or we sit on our arses and allow them to walk all over us. Greenpeace may be a bunch of idealistic hippies but the hippies always got it right. There is always an alternative if we are willing to pay the price. Greedy men and governments only win if we shut our mouths.

      • giordanobruno February 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

        Perhaps we could build a stadium and stick all the pylons in it?
        It’s just an idea!

  4. Cal February 5, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    The capital cost and long term maintenance costs are 3-4 times higher for going underground. The costs could and would be recouped as Jude says, problem is it will be us that foot the bill. So how many people are genuinely willing to pay an extra couple hundred quid per year, every year ?

    • Jude Collins February 5, 2014 at 2:31 pm #


    • paddykool February 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

      Gio …Hah ! Hah!…maybe put a treadmill in and get some generators going !!

      • giordanobruno February 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

        That’s it. Kill two birds with one stone.
        Thousands of orangemen marching round a giant treadmill or hamster wheel should generate enough power to run the whole occupied statelet.
        We will all be powered by Orange Juice.

  5. Jud (not Jude) February 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm #


    A lot of this is being done in the name of environmentalism – a supreme irony.
    The new infrastructure is needed to support the (largely useless and hugely expensive) wind and solar farms that are popping up – which themselves will be massive blots on the landscape.

    People (especially poor people) need cheap and plentiful electricity. Traditional methods, especially with the addition of shale gas, could provide this easily using the existing (bought, paid for and built) infrastructure, but that would not help the fat cats get even richer under the cloak of environmentalism.

    Fight the pylons. Fight the Wind farms. Fight the solar farms. That is true environmentalism, and the only hope of keeping massive numbers of people out of fuel poverty.

    • paddykool February 5, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

      Gio …you’ve got it …the absolute Final Solution methinks….see what I mean by thinking outside the box…that’s how my mind works!!!!!

      • giordanobruno February 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

        Fine, but let’s not call it the ‘Final Solution’ please.

        • paddykool February 6, 2014 at 8:53 am #

          Gio ….Just a little gallows humour there. Our Jewish friends will understand that my heart is in the right place…

          • paddykool February 6, 2014 at 8:55 am #

            I’ll call it “One peace at a time” in reference to Johnny Cash’s great song…..

  6. ANOTHER JUDE February 5, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

    I saw a programme one night about a chap who lived in this huge castle type building, so he must have been from a pretty well off family. He was a scientist of some sort and needed electricity. However there were no providers in his town so what he did was wait until a stormy night, hoist the creature he had made from various body parts up towards a conductor and Hey Presto! One lightning strike later and his work was done. NIE must have been furious. Mind you, it all ended in disaster, a mob (loyalists?) attacked his residence and well, you can imagine the rest.

  7. michael February 5, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    a man applys for planning permission to build a nice house in the nice countryside for his family he jumps through hoops to satisfy the planners not to mention a pile of cash in fees and then gets turned down because his planned house would be out of keeping with the surroundings but these massive plyons fit in nicely with the scenery