A date has been fixed for the oral hearing component of the Eirgrid North-South interconnector.
The hearing will begin on Monday, March 7, 2016, at 11am in The Nuremore Hotel in Carrickmacross.
The hearing is bound to be heated with the Anglo Celt last week reporting thata group opposed to the over-grounding of pylons for the North-South interconnector say they have been 'inundated’ with complaints over officers for the scheme 'pestering’ local home- and land-owners.
The North East Pylon Pressure Campaign (NEPPC) says that “for the past number of months, but particularly in the last six weeks, NEPPC has increasingly become inundated with complaints from local communities about Eirgrid and/or its paid agents pestering individuals, groups, voluntary organisations, businesses and institutions”.
Eirgrid recently recruited 'liaison officers’ to meet with residents who have concerns and those who objected to An Bord Pleanála over the 400kV power lines that stretch from Meath, through Cavan and Monaghan and across the border to Tyrone.
The company says that conversations with home- and land-owners have “typically been open, frank and honest”.
'Divide and conquer’
The NEPPC maintains that EirGrid has hired “a raft of new agents and officers, and has directed them to systematically visit most of the more than 2,000 individuals who made an objection to An Bord Pleanála”.
“NEPPC has a number of examples of contacts made with individuals and voluntary organisations such as parents and toddler groups whom, even after stating quite clearly that they have no interest in engaging with EirGrid, have continued to receive calls from the same or other agents.
“Furthermore, EirGrid agents have called in unannounced and without permission, to many local businesses in rural communities.
“NEPPC has written to the CEO of EirGrid, demanding that this unwelcome harassment of local communities be halted immediately. It is also calling on our Government elected representatives to once again hold EirGrid to some basic sort of account for the vast amounts of monies it is wasting on agents’ salaries and on advertising campaigns in an orchestrated plan to divide and conquer local communities,” says the group.
Flashback to 2009
“This is a flashback to the way EirGrid behaved in 2009 with landowners, when we wrote to the then CEO demanding that EirGrid do not call unannounced and without invitation to landowners farmyards and properties.
“They ignored the request then and nothing has changed since then, despite all of its claims of improved consultation.
|But what EirGrid also need to remember is that nothing has changed either from the local communities’ perspective. The overhead lines option was not acceptable in 2009 and it is even less acceptable now, as undergrounding has been conceded by EirGrid as a feasible alternative.”
David Martin from EirGrid said: “We continue to engage with communities in Meath, Cavan and Monaghan in relation to the North South Interconnector following the submission of a planning application to An Bord Pleanála in June. These conversations have typically been open, frank and honest.
“This work is led by Grainne Duffy and John Boylan, community and agriculture liaison officer respectively for the North East, who are available to meet anyone who may have questions about the proposed development.”
John Boylan can be contacted directly on 085 877 2957 and Grainne Duffy on 085 887 4798.