Red tape takes the wind from €270m Galway project’s sails

The massive €270 million wind energy project already well underway in County Galway could now be delayed over legal and land ownership issues.

Construction work on an 110KV underground electricity cable from North Connemara to the east side of the city is ongoing – but it has hit a snag over whether the company, SSE Renewables, has permission to lay ducting and cabling in the Menlo area.

A former mayor of Galway, city councillor Frank Fahy, told the Connacht Tribune there is an unresolved issue over a small strip of land in Menlo, near the end of the 21-kilometre route from Doon near Rosscahill to Ballybrit.

Councillor Fahy said not only was there an issue but he had foreseen it and had flagged it with Galway City Council and SSE Renewable two years ago during the public consultation phase of the project, which will link the windfarm, Galway Wind Park, with the national grid.

SSE Renewables yesterday conceded that work had ceased at Menlo, but denied there was any unresolved legal issue.

A spokesperson said all agreements were in place and it would return to complete cabling in the Menlo area in the coming weeks.

“The works in Menlo have stopped due to prioritisation of works elsewhere on our schedule. We have all required agreements in place to construct along the full cable route,” an SSE Renewables spokesperson said.

Councillor Fahy said he had warned the company two years ago that it would encounter difficulties laying the ducting and cables through this strip of land at Menlo, because of unresolved issues with land ownership.

“There is an issue. And it’s still not resolved. There are 16 landowners, and SSE do not have permission to go through that land. The land in question is the avenue from the gate lodge to the castle, which is a couple of hundred yards,” he said.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.