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Eirgrid must wake up to reality and put forward a plan for Undergrounding – Reilly

4 November, 2015

Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly has welcomed Eirgrid’s admission in the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources this morning that undergrounding the North-South Interconnector is possible.  

Senator Reilly said:

“Once again, we have admissions from Eirgrid that undergrounding is possible. The issue now remains that if it is technically possible to underground the North-South Interconnector, as Eirgrid’s Fintan Slye admitted to  in today’s Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources, then that action should be taken. This is what is practical, desired and will see the realisation of the project and infrastructure.

“The people affected in Cavan, Monaghan and Meath have made it explicitly clear that they do not want high voltage power lines supported by over-head pylons running through their communities, beside their houses, and across their land. They are adamant about this and Sinn Féin has listened to the affected communities and we fully support the undergrounding of these cables.

“There are genuine worries for health, the environment, the landscape, the economic development of the areas concerned, and many more. The people and communities concerned have outlined their position for a number of years now and that is that the North-South Interconnector must go underground.

 “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. And today we had the admission from Eirgrid again that undergrounding is possible.

“Indeed, technological advances in recent years show that undergrounding is not only feasible but cost effective over the life of the project. It is certainly the best way to deliver this important infrastructure on time and on budget. This one move will address the full suite of genuine concerns.

“Such is the scale of legitimate public opposition to the North-South Interconnector project, as proposed, with overhead powerlines supported by pylons, that we are firmly of the opinion that this project is in serious jeopardy if Eirgrid don't come up with an underground alternative.

“No amount of community or event sponsorship will change the resolute attitudes of the people of Cavan, Monaghan or Meath to the erection of 400kv overhead power-lines and associated pylons in their communities. Eirgrid cannot ingratiate themselves in these communities until the overgrounding option is withdrawn.

“Eirgrid need to wake up to the realities of this and to put forward a plan for undergrounding to deliver this important infrastructure.” 

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