A Cavan farmer has said that landowners affected by Eirgrid's proposed North South Interconnector project cannot be coerced into having pylons and the associated works on their land. Lorcan McCabe, the deputy president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) made the comments at a public meeting held in Monaghan last night hosted by the North East Pylon Pressure Committee (NEPPC) group.
Mr McCabe said that the public of the North East have resisted this proposal for over a decade and their opinions must be respected and incorporated into future planning.
“ICMSA still believes the line must be underground and we think that every passing week supports that option. Given ongoing developments in technology and the expected publication of two further reports in the coming month - which must be published by Minister Naughton as quickly as possible - it is essential that a proper and future-orientated cost/benefit analysis is considered.
"In common with many others, we are not convinced that the respective outlays and figures cited by EirGrid are anything like comprehensive enough. For instance, we think that any potential savings made by use of pylons could be more than outweighed by other related costs such as legal challenges and delays and possible impact on the ‘green and clean’ image we have spent decades building."
Mr Lorcan also contended that other costs must be fed into the overall calculations and comparisons. "What, for instance, are the costs going to be as calculated by depreciation to both built and natural heritage?" he asked.
"EirGrid want the analysis confined a simplistic pylons-versus-underground sum with no other inputs or considerations permitted. We’re saying that these kinds of projects have moved well past that kind of obsolete calculation a long time ago,” said Mr McCabe, who himself farms at Bailieboro.
Mr McCabe stressed that ICMSA is in no sense, ‘anti-development’. “We’re absolutely not against development and necessary infrastructure but the long-term vision of the state and its crucial food production sector will best be served served by investing now in putting the line underground and this has to be the preferred option. As the engineering advances the proportionate extra cost of ‘undergrounding’ the line is falling and this, too, had to be factor. The smart, strategic and sustainable option here is actually the underground option.”