The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Energy Michael Colreavy TD has accused Minister Pat Rabbitte of attempting to undermine and influence the consultation process on electricity pylons. The Sligo/North Leitrim TD was specifically referring to the Minister’s claim that placing the cables underground will add 3% per year for 50 years to domestic electricity bills. He also claimed that the Taoiseach was using emigration as a means to blackmail communities into accepting the pylons.
Deputy Colreavy said:
“The first issue regarding what the Minister said this morning is that it represents a last minute attempt to influence what has been from the start a flawed consultation process. I am calling on the Minister to provide evidence that placing the cables underground will add 3% per year to electricity bills. Where does that figure come from?
“It has been apparent all along that the state side have already decided what they are going to do, and that the consultation process is merely window dressing. My party and others have submitted detailed evidence in relation to the economic, health, and social aspects of pylons as opposed to underground cables. I am not satisfied that the Minister and EirGrid are giving the evidence and research in favour of underground the proper consideration it deserves.
“I am also disappointed that the Taoiseach should try to use the threat of future emigration as a means to blackmail communities into accepting the pylons. That is surely ironic coming from the head of a Government that has presided over mass emigration of young people from rural communities. He refers to future employment prospects but like Minister Rabbitte provides no evidence for his claims.”