EirGrid has announced a special community fund of €2.4m – its biggest ever – for local enhancement projects in East Cork as part of its €1bn plan to bring electricity into the country from France.
The company is also encouraging local community groups and organisations along the route of the Celtic Interconnector to join its new ‘Celtic Community Forum’.
The French electricity cable will run undersea from Brittany, northern France, making landfall in Youghal.
From there, it will run mainly along the verge side of the main Cork-Waterford road (N25) into Carrigtwohill and then onto Knockraha, where it will hook up to the national grid.
The company said the €2.4m community benefit scheme will be made available on a phased basis should the project be granted planning permission.
EirGrid expects to submit a planning application for the project to Bord Pleanála before the end of the summer.
It will provide funding for community, sustainability and biodiversity projects in the area and will be led by the community through the ‘Celtic Community Forum’.
EirGrid has agreed that the East Cork communities will be assisted on the forum by Irish Rural Link (IRL), the non-profit organisation which represents more than 600 community groups countrywide.
“EirGrid is committed to working with local communities in a collaborative way to ensure a lasting benefit from local community funds.
“In partnership with IRL we want to ensure this forum is truly representative and empowered to direct the financial benefit from the Celtic Interconnector to where it is needed in the community,” Sinead Dooley, EirGrid’s head of public engagement said.
New approach to public engagement
The establishment of community forums for electricity infrastructure projects is part of a new approach to public engagement at EirGrid.
The company says it committed to working with communities as it endeavours to transform the electricity grid so that it runs on mostly renewable energy by 2030.
Anyone interested in representing a community group or organisation in the Celtic Interconnector project area should complete an expression of interest form available at eirgridgroup.com.
The deadline for receiving expressions of interest is noon on Monday, May 17.
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Credit: Sean O’Riordan | The Irish Examiner | EirGrid sets up Cork community fund for €1bn interconnector project