The theft of a high voltage conductor and damage caused to more than a dozen electricity poles in Edgeworthstown last week could cost up to €100,000 to replace.
That’s the six figure sum industry sources are putting on the repair damage that was brought about by vandals last Monday week.
In excess of 3,000 homes in the local Edgeworthstown area were affected by the outage with a number of businesses also being affected.
They included C&D Foods and fellow manufacturingfirm , Paul & Vincent who were out of operation for nearly two days.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the ESB declined to speculate on what the clean up costof the theft and vandalism would be.
“We don’t comment on repairs as we carry out repairs every day,” Kieran O’Neill said, while citing the incident last week as particularly reckless.
“It’s criminal activity, dangerous activity and life changing activity,” he added.
Mr O’Neill said officials were continuing to work closely with gardai in a bid to clamp down on this type of activity.
“Not only are the perpetrators putting their lives at risk, they are also endangering the public with this activity,” he said.
“Added to that is the inconvenience caused to local residents while the repair works are being carried out.”
A Garda spokesman confirmed an offical investigation into the incident had been launched and appealed for witnesses to come forward.
They especially want to speak with anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in or around the ESB’s substation and along the main N4 on Monday night to come forward.
Chairman of the county’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) Cllr Gerry Warnock, said it was imperative that Garda chiefs are given the necessary tools to tackle criminals at source.
“Unless the Gardai are given adequate resources from the Department (of Justice) it will be hard for them to combat everything,” he said.
One of the measures the Independent councillor said could help in that regard, concerns a six year action plan dealing principally with crime detection and prevention.
Committee members are believed to have held talks with Garda chiefs over those proposals last Thursday, details of which are likely to be disclosed at a JPC meeting tomorrow (Thursday).