Dismissive response from Minister after request for equal treatment in North-South Interconnector consultations – Pauline Tully TD
Sinn Féin TD for Cavan/Monaghan Pauline Tully has expressed her anger at the response she received from the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communication, Eamon Ryan to a recent Parliamentary Question she submitted on the North-South Interconnector.
The Cavan-Monaghan TD said:
“In a parliamentary question I recently submitted to the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communication, Eamon Ryan, I requested if he would establish a consultation process for the communities affected by the proposed North-South Interconnector with the option of under-grounding this project, in view of the fact that the communities affected by the proposed Kildare-Meath grid upgrade are being consulted on an underground option.
“Unfortunately and disgracefully, the Ministers response was dismissive of the difference in the way that the communities along the Kildare-Meath grid are being treated compared to the communities along the North-South Interconnector, arguing that projects are ‘not comparable’, sighting the main difference as the ‘distance’ in the length of both projects.
“However, if there are credible reasons for the option of undergrounding the project in Kildare-Meath then surely the same reasons exist for the North-South Interconnector which due to its length will be much more damaging and affect more communities. The distance of the project is also only one factor that should be considered. If it was felt necessary to give the option of under-grounding the Kildare-Meath grid project due to its potential health environmental, visual, social or economic impacts then these need to be reassessed with regard to the North-South Interconnector.
“The Minister seriously underestimates the level of opposition to the over-grounding of the North-South Interconnector.
“Sinn Féin fully acknowledges the need, and wants to see the development, of a North-South Interconnector, recognising that it is an important infrastructural project. However, we have consistently said that the interconnector should be put underground. The technology is there, it’s entirely feasible, but the government is refusing to move on the issue.
“The plans for hundreds of pylons and 400 kV power lines cutting through counties Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Tyrone and Armagh have been met with spectacular levels of local opposition.
"Therefore, pursuing this option only serves to frustrate and anger rural communities who have expressed genuine fears in terms of health, visual amenities and the impact on local businesses, particularly in tourism and agriculture.”