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Environment Committee hears electricity pylon concerns

19 June, 2008

Newry and Armagh Sinn Féin MLA, Cathal Boylan, has said that he is pleased that the Assembly Environment Committee is sitting in the Market Place theatre, Armagh City and had the opportunity to hear from two groups opposed to the present plans for a cross border electricity Interconnector.

Mr Boylan said:

"Both SEAT (Safe Electricity in Armagh and Tyrone) and a cross party delegation for Monaghan Council, led by recently elected Mayor Matt Carthy, were very articulate in their presentations and answering questions from the Committee.

"It was important that the Committee heard first hand from a cross section of the communities on both sides of the border about their opposition to the present proposals and the argument for putting these cables underground."

Commenting on recent reports that NIE state that the cost of putting the cables underground will be almost 10 times the cost of pylons, Assembly member Boylan, Vice Chair of the Environment Committee, added:

"We have not seen the report yet but would be interested to know if it was independent or carried out by NIE themselves?

"At a meeting of the Committee on Communications energy and Natural resources in the Dáil on the May 14, Rory O'Neill, President of specialist company Oceanteam-Imera was quoted as saying, 'We heard some strange sums of money being mentioned for the cost of under grounding the North-South Interconnector.

"If a major specialist company feels the figures being quoted are strange, then there must be a concern as to how these figures are being put together.

"The main concerns from local people opposed to pylons are health implications which can be eradicated by under grounding.

"NIE is a profit making company who only recently raised the price of electricity and warned of further increases later in the year. They need to listen to peoples concerns in this matter, this is not just about cost, people's health and well being may possibly be at risk. It really is a matter of people before profit.' ENDS

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