Manipulation and abuse of democratic process by EirGrid will not be tolerated by local communities

November 30, 2015

28 October 2015

Government and An Bord Pleanála  intervention demanded by NEPPC.

The arguments surrounding the North-South Interconnector Project (NSIP) are well known and well rehearsed in affected communities across the North-East, given that the project has been in the public domain for the last 8 years. The public will happily accept underground cable technology along public roads, but will not accept the unjustified and unnecessary imposition of massive pylons and extra high voltage electricity lines across our landscape, with all of the attendant health risks and degradation of community assets. EirGrid has been given this message loudly and clearly for many years, but refuse to budge and so have submitted to An Bord Pleanála (ABP), for a second time in 6 years, an application involving the erection of over 400 pylons. The planning application in June of this year was greeted with over 2,000 submissions of objection to ABP from the public and from community groups and business enterprises from all walks of life. ABP proceeded to forward all of the public submissions to EirGrid. The public await a decision from ABP as to when an Oral Hearing will be held, which will facilitate airing many of the arguments and concerns outlined.

In the meantime, EirGrid’s latest brainwave, in its determination to force through the North-South Interconnector Project (NSIP), is to hire a bunch of consultants make contact with many of those people and groups who lodged an objection to ABP, requesting to meet with them and to offer financial funding, using the Government’s so-called ‘Community Gain’ initiative. Groups already contacted include Parent and Toddler groups, Community support groups, Village Fair committees, Farm machinery businesses and Hunt associations. Additionally, some businesses have been approached and have been informed that the planning application will be approved and that they will obtain business when construction commences.

NEPPC wishes to make the following statements:

  1. The objections to the planning application by the public were made in good faith to ABP, not to the applicant-EirGrid. It is an abuse of the democratic process that these people are now being pestered by paid consultants of EirGrid in the midst of a planning process. The people who made submissions, did not pay €50 to be harassed by EirGrid.

 

  1. The irony of EirGrid’s manipulation of and lack of respect for the planning process is not lost on local communities. EirGrid has steadfastly refused to appear at any public meeting to present its case. It has refused to debate its application on the airwaves with any of the public in the last 8 years. It refuses to discuss its application with elected representatives because the application is ‘in the planning process’. Yet it conducts a strategy of trying to pressurise individuals and or individual groups with the objective of dividing and conquering communities. This is a road to nowhere.

 

  1. The direct offer of potential ‘Community Gain’ funding by EirGrid to various groups prior to the application even being considered is reprehensible and requires Government intervention. The concept of Community Gain in general is viewed by local communities as a cheap shot at trying to soften people’s resolve and cause division. “The opposite is true, stated a spokesperson for NEPPC. “Nobody is going to be bought by EirGrid, with what is in essence our own taxpayers monies’ anyway. Nobody is going to risk the health of their families for a pittance”

 

  1. Open statements by the EirGrid consultants and by EirGrid itself that the application is a foregone conclusion and will be passed is an unacceptable abuse of the ABP planning process.

 

  1. NEPPC calls on the Government and ABP to make written public requests to EirGrid, demanding that they desist from targeting those who made public submissions in good faith to ABP.

 

 

-       Ends –

Further information:

NEPPC

087 – 680 36 66

www.nepp.ie

Filed under: Press Releases 2015


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NEPP is the overall representative group for the people of Ireland's North East who advocate that high power electric cables should go underground.

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