Controversial North South Interconnector less likely to go ahead - Peadar Tóibín TD
Sinn Féin Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has welcomed today’s Belfast Court of Appeal ruling which rejected the North’s Department of Infrastructure’s appeal over its decision to grant planning permission for a controversial waste incinerator in Hightown.
Belfast’s High Court had earlier ruled that the decision by departmental officials to approve the facility was unlawful. This was challenged in the Court of Appeal but the original ruling was today upheld.
According to An Teachta Tóibín this makes it less likely that the North South Interconnector will be built over ground as is currently planned by the FG/Independent government.
Teachta Tóibín said:
"This ruling gives a strong precedent and its now likely that a legal case will be taken against the planning approval given on the North South Interconnector.
"The Court was very clear that it would be contrary to the Good Friday Agreement for such a significant and controversial decision such as the incinerator to be taken by departmental officials in the absence of an Executive.
"The North South Interconnector is important to the development of the island but it must be undergrounded.
"Currently Fine Gael and the Independents seek to construct 409 pylons – some of them up to 51m high – carrying 400,000V through Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Armagh and Tyrone.
"Some will be constructed at a minimum distance of 13m from people’s houses. With regards, tourism, heritage, agriculture and communities the current plan with radically damage these counties.
"There is also serious health concerns and home and property values would be damaged. It is both technically and financially feasible to underground this interconnector and that’s what the government must do.
"Serious questions must now be asked of the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment who has already started procurement process for the building of the Interconnector before the full planning process is fully complete.
"The Minister’s decision may put the state on the hook financially for a project that may still not be built."