"North-South Interconnector can only be progressed via underground option" - Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has again demanded that the government direct EirGrid to abandon plans to impose over-head pylon supported high voltage power lines along the proposed route of the North-South Interconnector. Mr. Carthy was speaking in advance of a public meeting on the issue in Meath on Tuesday evening and following a meeting Sinn Féin held with the North East Pylon Pressure (NEPP) organisation last week. Those in attendance at the meeting with NEPP included Mr. Carthy, Deputy Peadar Toibín and Senator Kathryn Reilly. Deputy Caoimhghín Ò Caoláin, who has been extremely active on this issue, was unable to attend.
Speaking this week Mr. Carthy said:
"Sinn Féin representative have been working closely with all those groups and communities in Counties Monaghan, Armagh, Cavan, Tyrone and Meath who have been engaged in a campaign since 2007 against the EirGrid and NIE plans to impose 400kv overhead power-lines and associated pylons on their landscapes. In recent meetings it is clear that their determination is as resolute as ever. Unfortunately the government and EirGrid continue to ignore their concerns.
"The concerns are very real; there are genuine worries for health, our environment, the landscape, the economic development of the areas concerned. The communities concerned have made their position crystal clear - the North South Interconnector can only proceed on the basis that it is undergrounded. Sinn Féin fully supports that position.
"Report after report, including one published by the government appointed International expert commission have clearly proved that under-grounding of the power-lines is both possible and feasible. Indeed, many argue that in the medium to long term, undergrounding is economically beneficial.
"It is expected that EirGrid will resubmit a planning application for this project within the next number of weeks unless the government instructs them to reassess the proposal. Should they proceed as planned EirGrid will be responsible for a gross further waste of public funds. They should heed the advice of experts and communities and save themselves and the state a lot a time, money and whatever goodwill they have left by acceding to the demands of these communities to move towards an underground scheme" Mr. Carthy concluded.