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Health concerns surrounding EirGrid project must be taken seriously by government – Ní Riada

8 January, 2014 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Sinn Féin’s EU candidate for the constituency of Ireland South, Liadh Ní Riada, has today called on the government to take the health concerns surrounding the EirGrid Grid Link project seriously.

Ní Riada stated that the Government’s messaging regarding such health concerns has been mixed, flippant and shows a real disrespect towards the affected communities.

Ms Ní Riada said:

“The health concerns surrounding the EirGrid project are very credible. However, the government has chosen to adopt quite a flippant attitude to these concerns.

“Minister Rabbitte has consistently dismissed the worries of communities while his colleague Health Minister James Reilly has aired his concerns regarding the electromagnetic fields created by power lines. The fact that two senior Ministers have completely antagonistic positions on such an important matter is, to my mind, evidence that the government has not taken these health concerns seriously at all.

“A 2005 study conducted by Oxford Professor Draper found that living within 200 metres of high-voltage power-lines increases a child’s chance of getting cancer by 69%. Earlier research shows cancer clusters associated with high voltage power-lines. People living in close proximity were found to have a higher chance of suffering from lung cancer and leukaemia.”

“This isn’t political spin. These are the results of serious academic research. Surely the government has a responsibility to treat such studies with a greater degree of respect and consideration.

“By arrogantly dismissing these concerns, the Government and EirGrid are playing fast and loose with the health of many people.

“I certainly hope that Minister Rabbitte’s dismissal is not just another case of something one does only when there is an election in view.

“The health concerns regarding the Grid Link project cannot be marginalised. I am calling on the government to respect affected communities and treat these concerns with the seriousness that they deserve.”

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