Sinn Féin to push for undergrounding of North South Interconnector at An Board Pleanála hearing - Reilly
Responding to the announcement form An Bord Pleanála that the oral hearing on the proposed North South interconnector is likely to commence in early March, Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly outlined her opposition to pylons and said her party will be making a submission to the hearing to outline the serious concerns that communities have regarding the proposals.
Senator Reilly said:
“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.
“Communities feel completely sidelined and that once again their concerns have not been taken on board by those pushing this project. Indeed, this is most prominent in the blatant refusal to consider undergrounding as an option, especially when it is a feasible option. 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.
“What is most striking and insulting to the communities in Cavan, Monaghan and Meath is the complete double standards being experienced when looking at the development of new transmission lines in other parts of the country, which are proceeding underground. This is an insult and Fine Gael and Labour TDs must be held to account for this.
“The communities in Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Armagh, and Tyrone are not going to passively accept 400kv overhead power-lines and associated pylons on their landscapes. They have shown their opposition individually and through organisations such as the NEPP. In recent meetings it is clear that their determination is as resolute as ever. Unfortunately the government and EirGrid have continued to ignore their concerns.
“The oral hearing will once again be the chance for communities to make their voices heard in relation to these proposals. We in Sinn Féin will be making a submission and our message is clear: Underground the cables!
“Sinn Féin has listened to their concerns of communities from the outset and last week my colleague Deputy Peadar Tóibín laid the North-South Interconnector Bill 2016 before the Dáil. Sinn Féin is the only party with legislation and specific party policy on the issue. The North-South Interconnector Bill 2016 shows that we are committed to delivering on the wishes of these communities and we will be standing beside these communities once more at the oral hearing in March.”