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‘Can’t You Find Reverse?’ - ESB Blockade Bantry Farmers.

category cork | rights, freedoms and repression | feature author Monday July 03, 2006 16:41author by Niall Harnett - Bantry Solidarity Camp & Lodge / Gluaiseacht. Report this post to the editors

‘Why boasteth thyself, O evil men … playing smart but not being clever.’

featured image

After 3 years fighting the ESB down the usual dead end routes of the courts, the planners, the politicians, the County Councils etc, things finally came to a head for the Bantry Concerned Action Group (BCAG) over the last few days when an assault by the ESB Networks Crew and Officials on a number of local farmers resulted in an ESB blockade of farm entrances in attempting to access their lands for the purposes of erecting pylons, poles and an overhead 38kv power line, to connect the as yet unlicensed and unbuilt 'Murnane & O'Shea' development 'Ballybane Glanta Windfarm' in Dromourneen to the substation at Ballylickey 14km away.

ESB Networks have been granted high court injunctions / restraining orders against a number of the BCAG and are seeking more injunctions against more local residents at the high court in Dublin tomorrow Monday 3rd July (to be adjourned). The ESB are seeking to enter their lands on the back of these injunctions and their associated threats of jail, costs and/or fines. But the BCAG are not lying down and are committed to blocking all attempts to start work on their lands, until the ESB reverse their plans and agree to PUT THIS POWERLINE UNDERGROUND.

Main photo: Liam O'Sullivan, ESB Networks Manager, demonstrating his "determination to meet and surpass the expectations of our stakeholders - to whom we are accountable"- ESB Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

In a disgraceful display of true form, ignoring all ‘commitments’ to ‘social responsibility’, ‘codes of practice’ and ‘open communication in relation to the concerns of local communities’, ESB Networks Manager, Liam O’Sullivan (and his foot) accompanied by sidekick David Killian, blockaded their own contactors from pulling out of Joe Burke’s and other farms, after the contractors agreed to leave having been stopped in their tracks by the group.

Also from Niall: Rossport model of resistance applied with opening of a Solidarity Lodge in Bantry.

Last Thursday morning, June 29th, at about 8am, ESB Networks arrived at Joe Burke’s farm in Droumaduneen accompanied by An Garda Síochána. Joe is chairman of the BCAG - Bantry Concerned Acton Group and is injuncted by the high court from ‘interfering’ with this ‘Murnane & Shea / ESB Powerline Project‘. Joe would be of ‘strategic significance’ to the ESB, that’s why they came to his farm first. Meanwhile two separate ESB contractors, McSweeney and Lawlor, were attempting to get their diggers in on the lands of Jimmy Spillane and PJ Hourihane who have farms further back towards the proposed wind farm site.

Before they knew it, Liam O’Sullivan had his car parked on the Burke’s driveway up close to the house and contractor Pat McSweeney had his low-loader truck and digger through the gates to the land and up the track ready to start work. More ESB vehicles - the truck carrying the poles, a van and jeep were out parked on the road with an ‘SAG Energy Technologies’ van (http://www.sag.de) kinda hidin’ back further down the road. Two squad cars and a number of Gardaí parked in the driveway close to the road. Within minutes a number of local residents and visiting supporters had arrived to block the digger truck and the vehicles on the road from entering the farm. The gate was closed and a tractor and baling machine were parked behind the digger truck it to keep it right where it was until negotiations could begin.

The ESB were told in no uncertain terms that they had no permission to access Burke’s farm. They were told to leave and take their machines and cars with them, but they refused, rudely. When contractor Pat McSweeney agreed to take away his digger truck, Joe opened the gate for him and removed his own machinery which was in his way. Pat Mc Sweeney started to reverse his digger back down the track towards the gate. When he got to the gate, and when the truck was right in between the gate posts … Liam O’Sullivan appeared at the side of the truck signalling him to stop … and then he stuck his feckin’ foot under one of the wheels of McSweeney’s truck!.. stopping him there and blocking the gate.

Joe, his wife Anne and his father Jim all told him to move and asked the Gardaí to tell him to move … all to no avail. Jim complained to the Gardaí and Anne tried to make an official complaint, but the Gardaí refused to do anything, despite being told that Joe’s herd of cows, which had been milked before 8 o’clock that morning, were waiting to get back through that gate to feed in their fields.

ESB Networks Manager, Liam O’Sullivan stood with his foot under that truck for almost three hours. Finally at about 12 noon he relented and sat into an ESB van which was parked beside the gate. The van was parked in such a way as to make it very difficult for McSweeney to remove his digger truck. Joe had his cows ready at the gate across the road, waiting to cross. He told O’Sullivan to move the van to let McSweeney out so as to let his cows in. O’Sullivan said he would move the van further up into the driveway. There were local supporters blocking his way up the driveway so the only way he could get out was to reverse back. Joe and Jim Burke told him to back the van out on to the road. He refused and said he would only go forward into the driveway. The Gardaí were asked to direct him to move and they also refused. RTE / TG4 tv crew and print media photographers had just arrived to hear Joe say to O’Sullivan - “Can’t you find reverse in that van, or do you want me to find it for you?!”

Contractor Pat Mc Sweeney had fierce trouble backing out that long low-loader digger truck with Liam O’Sullivan refusing to budge. It took him nearly half an hour and he had to reverse back through the gate across the road and into the cows before he could pull away. Finally, the cows got out to feed.

Meanwhile, Liam O’Sullivan’s car which was parked close to the house was blocked in by some of the many cars that had come to Burke’s farm in support of them. As the afternoon progressed and a successful blockade had kept the ESB out, Liam O’Sullivan tried to move his car without success. He was told that he could take out his car on one condition only … that he agree to sign a statement saying that he would never park his car on Burke’s property without permission again. Without going into detail of his protestations at that and his attempts to use the Gardaí to assist him, suffice to say … he signed!

Throughout the day, diggers had also tried to get into the fields of Jimmy Spillane and PJ Hourihane further back towards the proposed wind farm site. Some had got into the fields and some were being held outside by local residents, who were also preventing those diggers that had got into the fields from moving any further. A private security company ‘Express Security Group’, contracted by ESB, were starting to move in for the night on all three sites, to protect these machines. Liam O’Sullivan was instructing them by telephone to keep the diggers where they were, even if the contractors who own them wanted to take them away!

On Friday morning, they were all back again and making new attempts to get on to other lands, - Dan Leary’s, Stephen Barrett’s and Margaret O’Sullivan’s, as well as trying to get back into Joe’s and the other lads’ farms.

David Killian, who described himself as “working on behalf of ESB Networks and answerable to Liam O’Sullivan“, arrived at Burke’s on Friday brandishing the high court injunction. He asked for permission to access the land and he was refused. That’s all he needed to do that day. He had come to ask that question and he had come to hear that answer so as to report back to his solicitors with a view to acting on that injunction. Liam O’Sullivan was doing the same thing elsewhere.

Killian was met by the Burkes and other members of the group who had a lot of questions they wanted answered. First of all Anne Burke wanted to know his role in this project and his job description. He took a long time and many words to not answer that question and we are still none the wiser as to his position or role. Suffice to say for the moment that his role on that day, Friday, was to go telling tales back to the high court.

Over the last few days, the ESB have been successfully blockaded from entering the lands of local residents and farmers along this 14km stretch of hills, woods and valleys. The Bantry Concerned Action Group are one in their call for these power lines to go underground. They are prepared now for any further action that the ESB want to take whether through the courts or on the ground. This is a large area of land with a lot of possible entry points and so the BCAG are calling for support in defending these lands. Anyone wishing to visit or to stay in the area to do that is welcome. The Bantry Solidarity Camp & Lodge has been set up just in the last few days and weeks and is ready for visitors (camp report coming soon). BCAG, local residents and neighbours are offering generous support to solidarity campers.

For more info contact Joe at 086 2705589 or myself at 086 8444966.

a2.jpg

Joe Burke with his wife Anne & his father Jim, all strong under pressure
Joe Burke with his wife Anne & his father Jim, all strong under pressure

a4.jpg

Danielle and James Burke - Bury the Powerlines, Not the Children.
Danielle and James Burke - Bury the Powerlines, Not the Children.

author by Niall.publication date Mon Jul 03, 2006 00:02Report this post to the editors

ESB are using the powers of entry under the 1927 Act of electricity supply to facilitate private developers Murnane & O’Shea. Murnane & O’Shea are big in Bantry and West Cork (more on them later).

b1.jpg

b2.jpg

'The New Hotel', Bantry Harbour.
'The New Hotel', Bantry Harbour.

b4.jpg

author by Niallpublication date Mon Jul 03, 2006 00:17Report this post to the editors

All pics are COPYLEFT!

David Killian, calculatingly deceptive / role unknown, with ESB Networks Manager Liam O’Sullivan.
David Killian, calculatingly deceptive / role unknown, with ESB Networks Manager Liam O’Sullivan.

c2.jpg

ESB & Contractors McSweeney blockaded…
ESB & Contractors McSweeney blockaded…

front …
front …

… and back.
… and back.

author by Niallpublication date Mon Jul 03, 2006 00:29Report this post to the editors

.

Pat McSweeney agrees to go.
Pat McSweeney agrees to go.

Blockade removed.
Blockade removed.

Free to go.
Free to go.

Hold on, what the fuck’s going on here?
Hold on, what the fuck’s going on here?

Liam O’Sullivan blocks his own contractor from leaving!
Liam O’Sullivan blocks his own contractor from leaving!

author by Niallpublication date Mon Jul 03, 2006 00:50Report this post to the editors

.

Jim Burke’s complaints fall on the deaf ears of his ’protective servant’ Garda CW140.
Jim Burke’s complaints fall on the deaf ears of his ’protective servant’ Garda CW140.

Express Security Goons arrive …
Express Security Goons arrive …

… and refuse nastily to identify themselves.
… and refuse nastily to identify themselves.

Stand off.
Stand off.

Jelly from The Irish Examiner
Jelly from The Irish Examiner

author by Niallpublication date Mon Jul 03, 2006 01:03Report this post to the editors

.

The cows need to eat.
The cows need to eat.

RTE / TG4
RTE / TG4

“Can’t you find reverse in that van, or do you want me to find it for you”
“Can’t you find reverse in that van, or do you want me to find it for you”

O’Sullivan won’t budge and McSweeney struggles to pass him.
O’Sullivan won’t budge and McSweeney struggles to pass him.

Denis Cronin minds the gap!
Denis Cronin minds the gap!

author by Niallpublication date Mon Jul 03, 2006 01:17Report this post to the editors

.

No good …
No good …

You’ll have to back into the cows.
You’ll have to back into the cows.

Finally, after missing breakfast the cows go out to lunch.
Finally, after missing breakfast the cows go out to lunch.

Liam O’Sullivan’s car, the dark grey Citroen, blockaded between horsebox and cars.
Liam O’Sullivan’s car, the dark grey Citroen, blockaded between horsebox and cars.

No choice but to sign.
No choice but to sign.

author by iosafpublication date Mon Jul 03, 2006 01:20Report this post to the editors

a tractor or a herd of hungry cows. I reckon a tractor is more manageable though.
Good Day seemed to be had. May it go that way!

Link to last article ( left some data on the dangers of pylons in the comments )

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76465
author by Niallpublication date Mon Jul 03, 2006 10:26Report this post to the editors

... to some of the concerns of the Bantry Concerned Action Group can be found here: http://www.woodlandleague.org/communities/bcag/

Cheers iosaf for that, more analyses on the way too.

author by Niall Harnettpublication date Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:42Report this post to the editors

It's all happening again this morning in Bantry, with the ESB employing EVEN MORE DIGGERS to try and get back into the lands of the Bantry Concerned Action Group.

Lads and lassies - this is a CALL OUT FOR SUPPORT ON THE GROUND.

Bring your tents and camping gear.

Eco-Biodegradable soaps, toothpastes and washing stuff only please.

No dogs & NO DRUGS.

Camp report coming soon.

The Bantry Solidarity Camp & Lodge in the beautiful woods of Drumbroe, awaits your arrival ...

... where a warm fire awaits.
... where a warm fire awaits.

Caton setting some off-suite washing facilities.
Caton setting some off-suite washing facilities.

author by Bantry Concerned Action Grouppublication date Mon Jul 03, 2006 14:37Report this post to the editors

We are grateful for all your support.

If you compare the planned windfarms and the existing powerlines you can see the mess that is coming our way.

We are in favour of wind energy, but these powerlines need to be put underground.

Invasion of the windfarms
Invasion of the windfarms

Existing powerlines in Cork and Kerry
Existing powerlines in Cork and Kerry

author by supporterpublication date Mon Jul 03, 2006 22:32Report this post to the editors

to Joe and all the locals and camp members good luck with keeping out the bullies, how dare the ESB try and take over peoples private lands for their own gain, and of course supported by the guards..The ESB must be kept out and bury these lines;they cant get away any longer with walking all over people and their property. KEEP YOUR GATES LOCKED AND KEEP THEM OUT

author by Phuq Heddpublication date Mon Jul 03, 2006 22:52Report this post to the editors

I remember the 80's when my ma was being harrassed by the ESB to pay a bill she definitely didn't owe and they came to cut off the electricity (before any court proceedings had been taken and while my ma was in possession of a letter from the ESB accounts department admitting their mistake). This was in a new house on the northside of Dublin after a long series of delays and frustrations with the ESB actually coming to switch on the power in the first place, so she wasn't in a good mood.

A group of little scuts arrived to switch off the power and were pushing into the house, so she let one get by, slammed the front door, pushed him into the tiny downstairs toilets and locked him in. (Yes, illegal, probably assault and battery or something). He didn't get out until the ones outside had phoned their superiors, who then phoned my ma to assure her that there'd been a terrible mistake.

Good on the BCAG and everyone else for standing up for themselves against these thugs. The ESB is a coddled, overweaning monolith that has been far too protected in its dealings with the public that it exists to serve.

author by Niall Harnettpublication date Tue Jul 04, 2006 11:53Report this post to the editors

... camp article is here now: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/77026

author by Bantry Concerned Action Grouppublication date Wed Jul 05, 2006 15:20Report this post to the editors

We presented our case to the Oireachtas in March 2005 - they listened politely, but unfortunately nothing happened afterwards!

E.S.B. Powerlines and the Connection of Windfarms to the National Grid

A Presentation to the Joint Committee on Communications, Marine, and Natural Resources
of the Houses of the Oireachtas, Leinster House, Dublin 2, Ireland

Full presentation at the link below

Related Link: http://www.woodlandleague.org/communities/bcag/document...s.pdf
author by Niall Harnettpublication date Thu Jul 06, 2006 17:05Report this post to the editors

BLOCKADE ONGOING.

The ESB have been trying every weekday since last Thursday to get their diggers onto the lands of the Bantry Concerned Action Group. They are being blocked every day by growing local support on the ground. This is a big ask for them with so many farms and entrances vulnerable to attack along this 14km route. The ESB have been running around all week trying to find spots where they can get in but as soon as their machinery is spotted on the road they are followed and blocked.

The blockade continues and support is needed. Come to the Bantry Solidarity Lodge if you can.
See: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/77026 or contact me at 086 8444966.

HIGH COURT INJUNCTIONS.

This coming Monday morning 11th July will see an appearance at the high court by two more members of the Bantry Concerned Action Group who have been summonsed there to face an ESB application for an injunction against them. The BCAG members - Tadhg Coughlan and Susan Kingston will be there to argue why this injunction should not be granted against them.

Support needed at the high court on Monday morning please.

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/77026
author by Bantry Concerned Action Grouppublication date Fri Jul 07, 2006 00:26Report this post to the editors

If you drive towards Bantry from Drimoleague, turn right at Colomane Cross (just after the creamery) and continue past Jimmy Barry Motors, you will find us blocking gateways along the road.

Be careful driving - someone has left a lot of construction machinery blocking the road.

author by frankpublication date Fri Jul 07, 2006 00:35Report this post to the editors

keep up the good work,Joe Burke and your neighbours.People have been walked on by esb bullies for far to long and its high time people stood up to them.Every town and village in the country has the lines put underground in the intrest of "tidy towns",and rightly so.Why then can the same not be done in our countryside?
The countryside is littered with pylons and poles.I take it that its poles the esb have on the lorry in Bantry? Theese poles are saturated in creosote. Under an EU directive"amature creosote is banned and restrictions are placed on ALL wood treated with creosote". The reason its banned is because Creosote is a pollutant,toxicand carcenogenic.I suggest the esb take this load of timber away and dispose of it properly before the groundwater gets contaminated.There is an EU Directive to protect the groundwater too,and another one to protect habitats.And so on and on. ESB;the show is over,pack up your Circus and go,we have enough of your nonsence.

author by supporterpublication date Sun Jul 09, 2006 20:25Report this post to the editors

Surely ESB, Liam O Sullivan and Co should be held accountable and punished severely for cruelty to animals, considering those cows had to starve in their yard for more than 5 hours on Thursday 29th June. What does the ISPCA have to say about this?

author by Tompublication date Tue Jul 11, 2006 16:23Report this post to the editors

there's a new website with more info. about the campaign at:

Related Link: http://bantrypylonprotest.com
author by ken - water campaingerpublication date Tue Jul 11, 2006 18:09Report this post to the editors

Hey there fellow citizens, I see that the ESB are trying to bully you guys by threatening you with the high courts the same way that Limerick Co. Co. did in Pallaskenry. It's about time that more people stood up to these people and take them on because they are wasting tax payers money again and again instead of talking to people first.

Good luck with your struggle, our thoughts and support is there if you neded it.

author by Niall Harnettpublication date Tue Jul 11, 2006 18:27Report this post to the editors

Click here for latest report from Bantry: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/77132

2006_0707bantryblockadescont10021.jpg

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/77132
author by Mick Reganpublication date Thu Jul 20, 2006 03:57Report this post to the editors

The ESB should adopt a more progressive approach and start implementing an infrastructure that they, and Ireland, can be proud of. The intelligent solution is to put the cables underground and start setting the benchmark for Europe.

Watching just the profit line looks very narrow-minded and the current obsession with installing poles, (anywhere in Ireland), reflects an archaic attitude and is a missed opportunity to bring the standards for energy supply into the 21st century.

ESB - instead of fighting with farmers why not look at the bigger picture, and if you can be honest with yourselves you'd have to say that your bottom line is not really more important that than the health of your nation's people, and other aspects such as the natural beauty of your countryside and its associated relevance to tourism etc in rural areas.

Instead of stand-offs we should be working together and showing Europe that Ireland knows how to take the initiative, and that the perception of a modern progressive country is indeed reflected in how we actually conduct ourselves. It's not a case of losing face, simply an opportunity to do it right and to be proud of our accomplishments.

author by Flynn - agrescon@agrescon.nlpublication date Fri Aug 18, 2006 13:19author email agrescon at agrescon dot nlauthor phone 0031102102055Report this post to the editors

I agree with your protest, the Multinationals, Local Councils, Oil and Gas Companies, all are a Law unto themselves, doing What they want , where they want, to who they want, without consideration consultation or a collective aproach . They wont stop untill the whole blessed earth is either a dessert, a cesspit or a compleat eyesore. Now best beloved reader, I Flynn O Flynn of the Liliputians, will tell thee How to Defeat these Enviromental Morons, without a Shot being fired. Its called Super Glue and it sticks to any thing, as in Door Locks, Parking Meters, Telephone Access boxes, Letter Boxes, Council Front Doors, it even works on the Back Doors, too,! then theres the Car Doors, and the Buldozers Side doors then theres the Petrol Pump Locks, and the Council Offices who love to be Locked out on a Monday, but because they dont get the point I usually Lock them in on the Tuesday. or untill they do.! this costs 20 cents per tube, and takes a little time, my name and adress is suplied and they Know Who he is but Like a Thief in the Night, im gone so they usually send the Posse after Peter Pan, if they can get the Car Door open. Read Ghandis Peacefull responce on Aug 17 Anarchists, you are the People You call the Dates, They,ll hear you from one end of Erin to the other. your Friend Gulliver Flynn O Flynn O Conaught

author by read between the linespublication date Sat Aug 19, 2006 11:57Report this post to the editors

I am following the Bantry Co Cork story with great intrest;
First the 1927 Electricity Act,then High Court Injunctions,then a four week stand off; and then.........then the esb disappear?
What does all this mean? Think about all of this,27 Act,injunctions,stand off and then they just go away?What is it that the ESB do NOT have that they DO need?Would it be a signature from the landowner by any chance?

author by Interestedpublication date Tue Sep 05, 2006 16:21Report this post to the editors

Yes they require a landowner's Signature (a voluntary signature at that)
They need you to sign over full and total use of your land to them, so they can enjoy total freedom to do whatever they want with your land/property.It's called a Deed of Easement and the good thing is they CANNOT make you sign it Good Luck to all in Bantry and dont be fooled by the Greed

author by watchingpublication date Sun Dec 10, 2006 23:45Report this post to the editors

Looking at this bantry situation all summer-what now? where is the developer that was going to walk all over people outside bantry.going to get injunctions(correction-got injunctions) in high court and what this guy wasnt going to do.he was even going to get injunctions against anyone that looked at esb doing work for him???? has this developer woken from his dream yet? did someone tell him to get real?
has he decided at last that he cant walk all over people?and that the actual cheapest option is in fact to put a line under the public road.in wexford a similar situation arose.the developer built a windfarm and asked esb for price to instal overhead line.he then asked a contractor for a price to instal an underground line.as the two prices were very similar he opted for the underground one.this eliminated delay and compensation.this type situation is going to crop up again and again all over ireland.let the developers copy wexford as an example and everyone will get along just fine.peace and goodwill and underground cables.
the end.

author by intrigued by those who stood up for themselvespublication date Wed Aug 01, 2007 21:30Report this post to the editors

Just came across this story again this eve, I kept an eye on events last year but can anyone tell us please what the outcome of this 4 week long stand off was.? Did the ESB bully their way in to the landowners properties or was everything peacefully sorted out and the line buried as it should have been in the first instance? Update please...

author by Niallpublication date Wed Aug 01, 2007 22:28Report this post to the editors

Bob Murnane, the Glanta Windfarm developer, agreed to put the powerline underground.

He's using his own contractor, and not the ESB, to do the undergrounding for him.

A successful blockade and victory for the Bantry Concerned Action Group and the Bantry Solidarity Lodge & Camp.

2006_0717bantrytralibane0176.jpg

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/78132
author by Delightedpublication date Mon Aug 06, 2007 14:11Report this post to the editors

Thats great news for you - well done. Its great to learn that Democracy is still alive and well -the people were listened to. Im sure it was tough going for you at times - but worth it all. It just proves when all sides come together a sensible compromise can be reached, which allows electricity to be transmitted and work to proceed without years of delay. Congrats!

author by very curious - in favour of underground cablespublication date Mon Oct 29, 2007 19:49Report this post to the editors

Can anyone tell me please what happens if a company like ESB continue breaching Planning Permission conditions as laid down by An Bord Pleanala (ABP)when the planning case was appealed to them? Planning permission was upheld after appeal to ABP but had 15 conditions attached, several of which have been breached by ESB/contractors. The local councils have been informed but refuse to do anything about the breaches yet the ABP say it's the councils problem.( even though they laid down conditions). It seems ESB are given a free rein to do what they like and are answerable to no-one. Your responses are welcomed.

author by questionpublication date Mon Oct 29, 2007 22:35Report this post to the editors

. I would suggest An Taisce in Dublin they on ther website .

author by cnk guypublication date Wed Jun 28, 2017 19:01Report this post to the editors

Yes they require a landowner's Signature (a voluntary signature at that)
They need you to sign over full and total use of your land to them, so they can enjoy total freedom to do whatever they want with your land/property.It's called a Deed of Easement and the good thing is they CANNOT make you sign it Good Luck to all in Bantry and dont be fooled by the Greed
http://freedomnews.today/

Related Link: http://freedomnews.today/
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