By Joe Barrett
FINE Gael’s cllr Thomasina Connell was nominated as the Portlaoise Municipal District Council’s representative on the Eirgrid Laois Kilkenny Reinforcement Project Community Forum.
She now joins Fianna Fáil cllr Paschal McEvoy from the Graiguecullen/Portarlington Municipal District Council as the two elected representatives from Laois County Council onto the forum.
She was nominated for the position at the October meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District by Fianna Fáil cllr and Municipal District cathaoirleach John Joe Fennelly and seconded by his party colleague cllr Catherine Fitzgerald.
The newly established Laois Kilkenny Reinforcement Community Forum was established by ESB Networks and Eirgrid and is being overseen by Irish Rural Link.
In a statement last December Eirgrid and ESB Networks confirmed that they will establish a voluntary community forum early in the new year, as recommended by Irish Rural Link in its independent evaluation of the Laois Kilkenny Reinforcement Project in October 2019.
They said: “In recognition of the importance of working closely with communities, Eirgrid will launch a project Community Fund in 2021. It is intended that the voluntary community forum will, through its civic, social and political representatives, provide input into the administration of the fund. The forum will also receive regular updates on the construction programme from ESB Networks.
“The establishment of a community forum was one of the key recommendations from Irish Rural Link, an independent organisation commissioned by ESB Networks to assess current community understanding of the project.
“Eirgrid’s community fund recognises the importance of the local communities in the development of the electricity grid. The fund is in proportion to the scale of a project.
The overall fund for the Laois-Kilkenny Reinforcement Project is approximately €500,000. When allocating the fund consideration will be given to the amount of new infrastructure in each county.”