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Sinn Féin TDs to press for undergrounding of North South Interconnector

21 December, 2016 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin TDs Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin and Peadar Tóibín are pressing for the undergrounding of the North South Interconnector following news that An Bord Pleanála has approved of the building of 299 pylons in Meath, Cavan and Monaghan.

The Sinn Féin Deputies have stated that the construction of 45 meter high pylons which carry 400kv of power, will have potentially devastating consequences.

Speaking today Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“This is devastating news, in the first instance for the campaigning communities across counties Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Armagh and Tyrone who have steadfastly opposed this approach and for all who are quite rightly offended at the prospect of these monstrous structures across our unspoiled countryside.

“We are committed to continue with our opposition and are once again calling on the government and all parties and independent Dáil and Seanad representatives to join us in supporting the underground approach that already has the signalled support of many of those directly affected.

“It is our intention to bring this matter onto the Dáil floor early in the New Year.”

An Teachta Tóibín added:

“While there is a real need to strengthen supply of electricity north and south, the decision not to construct this interconnector underground is disastrous.

“Residents of Meath will now be exposed to 45 meter high pylons some of which will be only 50 metres from people’s homes, and the potential health risks associated with this exposure.

“Studies have proved the increase in carcinogens when in proximity to the electromagnetic fields from power lines. Indeed, the European Commission’s SCENIHR found that ‘the previous conclusion that ELF magnetic fields are a possible carcinogen, chiefly based on childhood leukaemia results, is still valid.’

“There are additional concerns - families are terrified that they will be trapped living beside this industrial sized pylons unable to sell their houses due to a collapse in the price of their homes. Businesses in the county are also worried. Tourism, agriculture, and our blood stock sectors are all feel threatened by these over ground pylons.

“It does not have to be this way. An Oireachtas commissioned Expert Report states quite clearly that undergrounding the North-South interconnector is now a ‘realistic solution’ due to the ‘significant technical developments and a commercial breakthrough’ of the most recently developed voltage source connector technology.

“Eirgrid had stated originally that the cost of undergrounding the cable would be 25 times that of erecting overground pylons. This simply does not hold true. The Grid 25 review strategy document shows that the cost of undergrounding has reduced close to 1.5 times as compared to the cost of overhead lines.

“There will be fierce opposition to this decision to overground the interconnector, not least from Meath landowners, the vast majority of whom have stated that this will not happen. The government needs to consider the wellbeing and wishes of the people of Meath, and adopt an undergrounding policy for the interconnector.”


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