Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten has been told an €80 million plan by EirGrid to build pylons between Laois and Kilkenny will not be allowed to go ahead by the community because EirGrid has breached the planning laws.

At a meeting with residents in Ratheniska Mr Naughten heard local farmers will not allow access to their land.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said it would be difficult to see how EirGrid could now proceed with the project because of the complete disregard shown to local people.  

Mr Naughten said the enforcement of planning laws for pylon projects was a matter for the local authority.

However he said he had spoken to the managing director of EirGrid and the ESB about the breach regulation in Co Laois and emphasised the importance of consultation with local communities.

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Minister Flanagan said EirGrid was no longer welcome in Ratheniska because of the sheer neglect it had shown to the local community there.

He said it would be foolhardy for EirGrid to think it could proceed again after what had happened and it was his opinion that it would be difficult for the pylon project to go ahead.  

In a statement, EirGrid said this evening that it was now complying with the conditions of the planning permission.

It said once the issue came to light in Laois it ceased all work and when EirGrid and ESB networks have discharged all planning conditions they will once again begin to construct the project.

The overall timescale for the delivery of the new line between Laois and Kilkenny remains unchanged at the end of 2020.