Urgency argument re North South Interconnector undermined by EU grant funding opportunity
Meath West Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín yesterday raised the need for the inclusion of the North South Interconnector in the Independent Pylon Review with Minister Rabbit in the Dáil.
Deputy Tóibín said;
“The central argument of the government for the exclusion of the North South Interconnector is the urgent need of the infrastructure and its stage of completion. Indeed the Minister stated that it was 97% complete. But this is simply is not true.
“Eirgrid withdrew a planning application for this project in the middle of an oral hearing in June 2010, because of a lack of thoroughness in its submission. Where is the urgency here? It’s currently at planning inquiry stage exactly the same place it was nearly five years ago.
“The fact is that 97% of the land owners along the route have stated that under no circumstances will they allow Eirgrid onto their land. Even if planning is granted this project is not going anywhere fast.
“But crucially we learned from the Minister yesterday that this project is designated an EU Common Interest Project and therefore the planning process will be subject to enhanced principles for public participation and an application for funding can be made to the EU.
“The key question is does this not completely change the timescale for the project? And if a pause is necessary logic dictates that the North South Interconnector should be included in the Independent Pylon Review.
“The North South Interconnector in its material impact on communities will be no different than any of the other projects around the country. Not including it in the review is a threat to public confidence in the whole process.”