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Anti Interconnector Protest as NIE give presentation to Committee

15 January, 2009 - by Cathal Boylan

Senior NIE officials gave a presentation to the Environment Committee in Stormont on Thursday 15th January, with regard to their proposed plans for the Tyrone-Cavan Electricity Interconnector.

Before proceedings began, SEAT, (Safe Electricity in Armagh and Tyrone), a local pressure group demanding NIE underground cables, were joined by Sinn Féin representatives, Cathal Boylan, MLA, vice Chair of the Environment Committee, Cllr. Mary Doyle from Armagh City and District, and Noel Keelan and Jackie Crowe, Councillors from Monaghan C.C. for a protest on the Stormont steps.

During proceedings the NIE officials endured sustained questioning from the Newry and Armagh MLA. Afterwards, Cathal Boylan said;

'NIE, and indeed Eirgrid, have to take on board the concerns of people who live along the proposed route from Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Armagh and Tyrone, with regards the possible health implications this power line could produce.'

'While recognising the need and benefit of the Interconnector in itself, Sinn Féin will continue to support those groups and individuals who have serious concerns and would prefer to see it put underground.'

'One of the things which emerged today was that although NIE have had pre application discussions with Planning Service, they await the outcome of three individual studies on various aspects from costing to alternative technologies and feasibility studies. They are also carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment, which will all be submitted with any planning application.'

Meanwhile, Councillor Mary Doyle, who sat in on proceedings as an observer was, '…unconvinced by the NIE representatives', who she felt were unable to answer pertinent questions put to them adequately.'

After the Committee business the Sinn Féin political representatives had a meeting with Amy Tracey and Bernie Andrew from NEPP, (North East Pylon Pressure), a pressure group from the 26 Counties also opposed to the power line going overground.

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