Sinn Féin Energy Spokesperson Phil Flanagan MLA has said that NIE & Eirgrid should forget about their 'flawed and rejected proposals' for an overheard interconnector from Tyrone-Meath and embrace the opportunities that exist through constructing it underground.
Mr Flanagan, who is Deputy Chair of the Assembly's Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee was speaking after NIE presented evidence on the north-south interconnector at today's committee meeting.
"We are all agreed on the need for greater interconnection and the move towards a single, harmonious grid serving the whole island of Ireland.
"However, the continuing failure of NIE & Eirgrid to listen to the concerns of local residents opposed to the construction of an overheard interconnector and who demand that it be undergrounded is extremely frustrating.
"NIE & Eirgrid both need to urgently forget about constructing this interconnector overground and embrace the opportunity that exists of undergrounding it. This alternative proposal enjoys the support of local residents, and has been proven technically feasible by an International Expert Panel appointed by the south's Energy Minister Pat Rabitte TD.
"This expert panel found that both NIE & Eirgrid were wrong in dismissing the possibility of undergrounding the interconnector and they remain wrong.
"The claim today by NIE that undergrounding the interconnector 'might not work' because such a lengthy underground cable has not been done anywhere in the world is a ridiculous approach and is certainly not one based on any facts.
"The expert review found that undergrounding the connector was a 'realistic solution' to the current flawed and rejected proposal and is one that both NIE & Eirgrid should move ahead with instead of retaining their dogmatic position of wasting time trying to plough ahead with their current plans."