The Sinn Féin candidate for the Midlands North West EU constituency, Matt Carthy, has given a cautious welcome to the government’s announcement that it intends to set up an independent investigation into the undergrounding of high voltage powerlines.
“I welcome the government’s proposal to set up an independent investigation, chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Catherine McGuinness, to examine the prospect of undergrounding of high voltage powerlines.
“The proposed construction of these powerlines using overhead pylons has caused considerable controversy and concern. Sinn Féin has been the only party to have adopted a policy clearly stating that these powerlines can and should be under-grounded.
“It is the hard work and perseverance of the campaigning communities involved that has finally brought the government to this point.
“While welcoming this announcement I would hope that this is not just an election stunt to save the skins of Labour and Fine Gael councillors and MEPs in May.
“The preparation of these reports must be transparent, comprehensive and most importantly they should listen to all the expert evidence as well as the voices of the communities opposed to the construction of the pylon network.
“This investigation must also be extended to the proposed North South Interconnector as this scheme is noticeably absent from the Minister Pat Rabbitte’s statement today. As a first step the Minister must direct EirGrid not to proceed with submitting the planning application for this project until the expert panel have completed their work.”