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Inquiry into Teresa Treacy Mountjoy interview

The 65-year-old has been in jail for contempt of court for over three weeks over her refusal to facilitate court-ordered ESB work on her land.

Undated image of Teresa Treacy, 65, on her land.
Undated image of Teresa Treacy, 65, on her land.

JUNIOR JUSTICE Minister Kathleen Lynch said yesterday that although an interview request with Teresa Treacy was refused by the prison, “unauthorised contact” was made which is being investigated by the Irish Prison Service.

Treacy, 65, is in the Dóchas Centre women’s prison of Mountjoy for contempt of court following her refusal to allow the ESB cut down trees on her land to facilitate the construction of a power line.

RTÉ’s Prime Time aired an interview with Treacy on Tuesday’s programme in which she emphasised that she wants the line to be put underground. The programme also said that a number of other landowners affected by the line are objecting to its construction.

The High Court had granted a court order to the ESB for the electricity line operation back in August and jailed Treacy three weeks ago after she refused to submit to the order. EirGrid and the ESB have offered to plant trees to replace those cut down during the line work on her land near Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Questioned yesterday in the Dáil by United Left Alliance TDs, Lynch rejected calls for the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to intervene and secure Treacy’s release, saying a minister cannot interfere with the courts. However, Lynch said the ESB approaching Treacy would be a different matter.

More than 100 people protested outside the ESB offices in Dublin city on Tuesday in support of Treacy and some of her supporters have blocked the ESB’s work.

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Last week, EirGrid and the ESB issued a statement saying they regretted that the situation had “reached this juncture”.

They said they were engaged “in positive discussions” with Treacy’s family and progress was being made towards a resolution on the issue. The statement also said that the “vast majority of the necessary tree cutting on a landholding in Co Offaly has now been completed”.

Read: Thousands sign petition to free jailed woman Teresa Treacy >

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