Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher says the Government must take action to analyse the real cost of undergrounding the North-South interconnector. A Fianna Fáil motion calling for an independent assessment of the project was passed in the Seanad this week.
Senator Gallagher commented, “This project has been the source of untold anxiety and stress for communities in Monaghan, Cavan and Meath since it was first put forward 10 years ago, and despite all the hurdles that have been put in their way, the campaign run by the two groups – the Monaghan Anti-Pylon Committee and the North East Pylon Pressure Campaign – is as strong today as it was when it was first launched.
“While Fianna Fáil supports the upgrading of the national grid to ensure the security of the electricity supply, and to boost economic growth, the current proposal to build pylons across the North East, through communities and residential areas is simply not acceptable given the health, environmental and heritage concerns.
“The fact that Eirgrid only submitted an application for overground pylons and failed to consider the merits or the possibility of undergrounding the power lines shows a blatant discrimination against the people of the North East. Why has the Government not listened to their concerns and investigated them? When similar concerns were raised over Grid West and Grid East, analysis of an undergrounding option was undertaken. Why is this not the case for the North-South interconnector?
“Fianna Fáil is calling on the Government to immediately commission an independent report to analyse the real cost of undergrounding this project. In the ten years since the interconnector was first announced, major technological advances have been made and even Eirgrid itself has admitted that it’s possible to place these cables underground at a much reduced cost.
“I am very pleased that our motion was passed in the Seanad this week – it demonstrates the very real concerns that people have about this project. It is imperative that the Government take these concerns on board and respect the wishes of both the Dáil and the Seanad and ensure that an independent report is commissioned without delay”.