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Eirgrid attempting to wrong-foot communities – Ó Caoláin

16 December, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that today’s (Wednesday) planning application by Eirgrid to erect its proposed pylons and power lines across Counties Meath, Cavan and Monaghan is an attempt to wrong-foot communities over the Christmas and New Year period using legislation that effectively excludes real community participation in planning.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“I raised the Eirgrid application today in the Dáil with the Taoiseach Brian Cowen when I strongly urged that the underground option for the inter-connector network should be taken.

“To construct its network of pylons and power lines across Cos. Meath, Cavan and Monaghan, Eirgrid has today applied to An Bórd Pleanála under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006. This legislation by-passes local authorities, overturning normal planning procedure and effectively excluding local communities.

“This is attempt by Eirgrid to wrong-foot communities, carefully timed over the Christmas and New Year period to limit their opportunity to mount opposition at An Bord Pleanála level. However, such is the community opposition to this scheme that I believe the case will be put very effectively.

“For my part and on behalf of Sinn Féin I reaffirm our support for the local communities who will be effected by these power lines and pylons in calling for these power lines to be undergrounded and for new best practice standards to be applied. The full and real cost in human and environmental terms must be taken into account.

“My Sinn Féin colleague Cathal Boylan, Newry/Armagh MLA, has expressed his disappointment at the parallel application by NIE, covering parts of Cos. Armagh and Tyrone.

“We in Sinn Féin are fully committed to the development of an all-Ireland energy system. The proposed inter-connector can and should be rolled out underground.” ENDS

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