Government must ensure undergrounding of North-South Interconnector – Matt Carthy MEP
Responding to the decision of An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission to EirGrid for the construction of pylon supported high-voltage power lines as part of the north-south interconnector project, MEP Matt Carthy said:
“While not surprising, it is deeply disappointing that An Bord Pleanála have given approval for this hugely controversial project.
"The communities affected have always felt that the planning process was considered a formality by EirGrid and they understood that it would be extremely difficult for them to win at this stage.
"Notwithstanding that, I want to commend them, and their representative organisations, for presenting a clear and compounding case against the current proposals.
“The truth is that the project that was granted permission today will not go ahead in its current form. Communities simply won’t allow it.
"This permission allows counties Monaghan, Cavan and Meath to be effectively cut in two by huge pylon supported high-voltage power lines. A separate proposal pertaining to counties Armagh and Tyrone is currently going through a planning process in the north.
“However, residents, including the owners of the land of the proposed developments, have made it crystal clear that they will not permit construction in their communities.
"They have proved that the alternative of under-grounding the route is a practical, feasible and affordable option that should be pursued. EirGrid have refused to ever give this alternative the consideration it deserves.
“It is now therefore imperative that the Government adopts a policy in favour of an underground route and instruct EirGrid to ensure that this is what happens.
“The previous Government pushed the over-grounding of the North South Interconnector, despite the deep and widespread concerns for public health, tourism, and the local economy.
“However, a majority of TDs now oppose the over-grounding of these cables. Government policy must now reflect this reality.
"There is widespread, often underestimated, public opposition to the construction of these pylons throughout the affected counties and today’s decision is not the end of this controversy.
“The Government can save time, money and goodwill by adopting an undergrounding policy. In fact, it is the only means by which the Interconnector will be ever completed.”