People will ‘not allow’ pylons - Kelly

The people of Cavan, Meath and Monaghan will not allow pylons to be used to connect the electrical infrastructure of Northern Ireland with the Republic. That was the belief expressed by one local representative who criticised TDs for not keeping pre-election promises.

Councillor Clifford Kelly’s tabled a motion at the February monthly meeting of Cavan County Council seeking an immediate government directive to Eirgrid to stop all works on the North-South Interconnector as currently proposed.

Cllr Kelly defined works as “the procurement or signing of contracts for pylons or construction”.

The Kingscourt councillor called on the government and all elected representatives to actively prevent Eirgrid’s progress until an independent report is compiled.

The Fianna Fáil elected representative’s motion said such a report should incorporate international industry expertise to examine the technical feasibility and cost of undergrounding the North-South Interconnector.

Prior to discussing the matter Cllr Kelly asked the executive if Eirgrid, the ESB or their agents had any contact with the local authority since the last meeting. Director of Services, Planning, Community & Economic Development, Brendan Jennings, said there had been no such contact.

Cllr Kelly said it was time members of the Dáil and Seanad called a halt on works as mooted in a Private Members’ Business adopted by Dáil Éireann in February 2017 and subsequently by Seanad Eireann.

He said undergrounding projects in Japan and Germany, and domestically in Kildare, prove it is possible to complete a subterranean North South Interconnector in a cost effective and environmentally respectful manner.

He noted “pre-election promises” made by TDs who were now silent on the subject: “Before the election last year politicians on all side supported undergrounding; but not now. Now is the time for them to stand up and be counted.”

Cllr Kelly’s view was bolstered by Paddy McDonald (SF) who said: “Our Sinn Féin TD Pauline Tully expressed her anger at the ‘dismissive’ response she received from the Minister for Environment, Eamon Ryan, to a recent parliamentary question she submitted on the North-South Interconnector.”

Cllr McDonald added: “We want the government to know that this issue is not going away.”

Cllr Aidan Fitzpatrick commended Cllr Kelly for keeping the matter in the public eye: “The people don’t want it, and we need to keep it on the agenda.”

Cllr Kelly concluded matters saying: “They [Eirgrid] have been telling us lies from day one. Nothing short of lies. It’s great to see everyone calling for it [undergrounding]. We now need the TDs and Senators to come out and say they fully support the objectors. There is no way the people of Cavan, Meath and Monaghan will allow this to happen.”