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Senator ramps up pressure on pylons

30 June, 2011

Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly has today called for the Ministers for the Environment and Communications to come before the Seanad to address outstanding issues relating to the North/South Interconnector.

Senator Reilly said:

“Earlier this week I spoke about how semi-state bodies like Eirgrid paid bonuses last year. The chief executive of Eirgrid Dermot Byrne was paid a bonus of €23,000 for 2010 according to the company’s annual report. This year they will pay no bonus.

“A bonus was given for the year that Eirgrid had to sensationally withdraw planning application for the North/South Interconnector.

“But while the CEO was given a handsome reward, this blunder by Eirgrid about the height of the electricity pylons has left local communities across Cavan, Monaghan and Meath with a huge legal bill.

“It seems there is one rule for some people and another for everyone else.

“I am asking that the Minister for the Environment come to this House to discuss the ratification of the Aarhus Convention and how these costs will be reimbursed.

“Unless the Aarhus Convention is ratified and unless the legitimate costs of groups like the Co Monaghan Anti-Pylon Group and North East Pylon Pressure are reimbursed for their costs, the people of this State will be denied the opportunity to meaningfully participate in Oral Hearings on Environmental matters of deep public concern.”

Senator Reilly also asked for further details on the independent international expert commission that is to be set up:

“The Programme for Government commits to the establishment of an independent international expert commission to review within six months the case for, and cost of, undergrounding all or part of the Meath-Tyrone line.

“We are 2 months out from this deadline. Yet the Minister has announced nothing.

“While EirGrid has already finished a first round of non-statutory public consultation in preparation of submitting a formal new application to An Bord Pleanála.

“If this expert commission is to inform the process, it needs to be set up, with terms of reference as soon as possible. So I ask the Leader that the Minister for Communications be brought into this House before the recess to discuss this issue.”

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