Belfast Telegraph

ESB picketed over jailed pensioner

Protesters have picketed the office of the ESB over the treatment of a pensioner jailed for not letting the electricity company cut down her trees.

Campaigners have demanded the release of Teresa Treacy, who has been in Dochas woman's prison for three weeks.

The 65-year-old was jailed for contempt of court after she broke an order ruling ESB and Eirgrid could erect pylons on her land.

Cormac Lally, of the Teresa Treacy Support Group, said the pensioner is very anxious behind bars, where she has received thousands of letters of support.

"This woman should be freed from jail immediately, with no conditions at all," he said. "She has always said they can go through her land but that they have to bury the cables. She doesn't want pylons on her land."

The former businesswoman had planted thousands of trees on her 150-acre site at Clonmore, three miles east of Tullamore, Co Offaly.

ESB and Eirgrid, who had permission to fell about 12,000 of her trees, have finally offered to re-route part of its scheme.

An ESB spokesman said four adjoining landowners have agreed to let contractors put the pylons on their land, meaning seven acres of Ms Treacy's land would be felled instead of 14 acres, and replant where needed.

"What we are doing is very minor alterations to the route that's within the context of the existing planning permission," he said.

"These changes will have cost implications but in the circumstances that we are in, we are working extremely hard to resolve this and get Teresa out of prison. We have spoken to her family and the family have have communicated what's on the table to Teresa."

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