Commenting on the publication of the study of overhead versus underground electricity transmission lines commissioned by Eamon Ryan, Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Sinn Féin Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:
"The Minister should not use this study to give the green light to Eirgrid and Northern Ireland Electricity to go ahead with the extensive overhead cabling they propose across parts of Cos. Meath, Monaghan, Cavan, Tyrone and Armagh.
"The study claims that underground cabling would be more costly and more subject to breakdown. It also attempts to allay fears regarding health and safety. However, the study also finds that, internationally, diminishing public acceptance for new overhead lines has become an important driver for the assessment of underground cables as an alternative. It reports continued technology development in the field of underground cables.
"This report needs to be studied carefully and there needs to be a considered response from all concerned. It is not acceptable for Minister Ryan or for Eirgrid and NIE to act at a remove from the reality that will be experienced by communities living along the route of these overhead power lines. They need to see it from the point of view of the communities affected. Public concern is very deep on this issue.
"For my part and on behalf of Sinn Féin I reaffirm our support for the threatened communities in calling for these power lines to be undergrounded and for new best practice standards to be applied. The full and real cost in human and environmental terms must be taken into account.
"This report must not become the fig-leaf for Minister Ryan and his Cabinet colleagues." ENDS