Senators say Government must listen to locals on Interconnector

Wednesday, 25th January, 2017 1:57pm

Senators say Government must listen to locals on Interconnector

Robbie Gallagher

Local Fianna Fail Senator Robbie Gallagher and Diarmuid Wilson have levelled a joint call upon the Government to listen to the concerns expressed by families in areas of counties Cavan, Monaghan and Meath affected by the proposed North-South Interconnector plan.

Speaking in the Seanad yesterday, they called on the Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources, Sean Kyne to listen to the fears of families who are effected by the North-South Interconnector.

Senator Gallagher highlighted the immeasurable anger and frustration of communities to the planned overhead Interconnector cable, a reaction he says he witnessed at a meeting that discussed the project in Kells last week.

“People across the three counties feel the process has let them down and they are being ignored. Local representative's contributions were not even recorded.”

He added that studies have shown that an underground cable would improve reliability and has been proven to be less expensive than an overhead cable.

“The Government needs to acknowledge the flaw that An Bord Pleanala has responsibility solely for planning and not the impact their decisions have on the public,” Sen Gallagher said.

“If it was up to the people of Monaghan, Cavan and Meath, this project will never see the light of day.”

Senator Wilson was equally effusive in his castigation of the State, commentin in particular on the distress the process has caused to families across the region.

“This process has been going on for over 10 years. The families who live in these areas have suffered financial, psychological and health torment, it's just not good enough.”

The Minister himself responded by saying that policy dictated that the Government was not allowed to intervene in the decisions of Eirgrid or any other infrastructure developer, or call on them to choose particular sites, route or technologies.

He stated that Minister Naughten will meet with the effected communities and representatives soon in order to listen to their concerns, and outlined that An Bord Pleanala were aware of the studies on the underground cables option but found overhead lines were best to achieve the objectives of the project. The Minister did though accept the concerns of the local people.

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