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Proposed North-South power lines should be underground – Ó Caoláin

30 April, 2008

Speaking in the Dáil today on the Electricity Regulation Bill Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD called for the under-ground cabling of the planned North-South 400kv inter-connector running from Co. Tyrone to Co. Cavan and the 400kv power line from Woodland (Co. Meath) to Kingscourt in Co. Cavan.

Deputy Ó Caoláin welcomed the all-Ireland approach and the co-operation between Eirgrid and NIE in the development of a new power network but said the power lines for these developments must be underground.

He said, "I welcome this Bill and I welcome the new North-South inter-connector and the necessary enhancement of supply and expansion of the electricity grid in Ireland. EirGrid and NIE are planning to put in place a North-South 400kv inter-connector running from Co. Tyrone to Co. Cavan. Eirgrid has a second stand-alone proposal to erect a new 400kv power line from Woodland (Co. Meath) to Kingscourt in Co. Cavan. I have met with representatives of EirGrid and made clear my support and that of Sinn Féin for the development of the power network on an island-wide basis.

"What we cannot support, however, is EirGrid's and NIE's fixed determination to use overground pylons and wires for the entire length of these routes and to rule out the underground option.

"It would appear that despite the clearly expressed opposition of thousands of families who live close to the proposed routes of these power lines and their support pylons, EirGrid remains fixed on its overhead approach to these projects. Communities the length of these proposed power lines are vehemently opposed to the introduction of unsightly pylons and rightly fearful for the health of all exposed to high voltage power conduits, fearful for themselves, for their families, and for the children of these communities.

"There can be no question that there is significant information on record, eminent professional and well-researched opinion, stating that there is every reason for genuine health concerns. These communities are also conscious of the visual impact on their environment of this proposed unsightly string of pylon structures, stretching some 130 plus km along the length of the two routes suggested.

"I urge the Minister to listen to the many thousands of voices of concern at the Eirgrid and NIE power line proposals. This is not an argument against development, still less North-South development. It is an argument for a better way and the Minister should prevail upon EirGrid and NIE to take that better way." ENDS

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