The Government must move to set up an independent review into the feasibility and cost of undergrounding of the North-South interconnector.
That's the view of Cavan Fianna Fáil Deputy Niamh Smyth, who made the comments after her party secured support for expert analysis on undergrounding the controversial line. Her party constituency colleague, Brendan Smith, was also behind the motion.
Last month, Eirgrid secured planning permission for An Bord Pleanála to construct a new line of pylons through counties Cavan, Monaghan and Meath, as well as Tyrone and Armagh in Northern Ireland. However, communities in these areas have expressed serious concerns and continue to fight to have the line undergrounded.
A Fianna Fáil motion calling for an independent expert analysis to examine the technical feasibility and cost of the undergrounding of the North South interconnector was passed in the Dáil yesterday, February 16.
“This project, which was first mooted a decade ago, has been met with resistance by communities along the Border, concerned about possible health and environmental implications of the overhead power lines. They are also worried about the consultation process, as many residents claim that Eirgrid have not, and are continuing to refuse to engage properly with them," said Deputy Smyth following the Dáil debate.
“Eirgrid has flipflopped repeatedly on whether it is economically and technologically feasible to underground these pylons, and those involved in the Grid Link projects. Their inconsistency and overall unwillingness to engage, is central to why the people of Cavan, Monaghan and Meath have serious concerns. An independent expert analysis is needed to ascertain the true cost and implications of placing the North-South interconnector underground, taking the latest advances in technology, and similar projects abroad, into account," she continued.
“The Government must now recognise the will of the Dáil in the passing of this motion and ensure that an independent analysis is commissioned without delay,” concluded Deputy Smyth.