Sinn Féin - On Your Side

NIE nowhere near convincing communities over Electricity Inter-Connector fears

20 July, 2007

Sinn Féin Newry and Armagh MLA Cllr Cathal Boylan has said that the Electricity Service (NIE) were nowhere near convincing communities that their concerns were unfounded in relation to the proposed cross border Tyrone/Cavan Electricity Inter-connector.

The Armagh councilor, Mr Boylan said:

"Rather than continue in their very public head to head with communities in their attempts to dismiss their genuine concerns, NIE should be focused on consulting with, and informing all residents involved of their plans.

"At the first briefing to this Council by NIE in January 2007, I asked whether the Inter-connector could be underground. That question has been asked regularly since and has not been answered.

"The serious health worries that local people have cannot and will not be allowed to be flippantly brushed aside.

"Sinn Fein's policy on the Inter-connector is quite clear, we support the idea of a competitive all-Ireland market, and any initiative which will benefit the customer is welcome, however our concerns at this proposal negatively are the same as those shared by many who feel that the health and environmental impacts will be detrimental to their quality of life."

The Newry and Armagh MLA explained that following a meeting he had with NIE in June at Stormont he requested more consultation with the general public take place.

'The public should be aware that no agreement has been reached with landowners and concerned residents. NIE still has a lot of hard work to do to convince people on certain issues, especially health concerns. I have since been in contact with NIE again, and they have confirmed that they propose to write to every customer within a 1km radius of the proposed route before the end of July. In August, these same customers shall receive brochures, a map of the route, proposed tower types and details of the project in general. Finally in September or October they hope to hold open forums for the public to call and speak to NIE staff. All this will take place before a planning application is lodged

"In the meantime, it is my intention to continue to lobby for the connection to be put underground in areas where public opposition demands it. This may add more expense to the project, but the benefits of the connection over many years and the subsequent profits it will generate will surely offset the initial cost. So, in order to get the job completed, NIE may have to be realistic as to what the majority of people will agree to." ENDS

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