NEPPC welcomes FF submissions on Energy Bill June 2016

July 1, 2016

Fianna Fáil show of strength in demanding undergrounding of the North-South interconnector

Forceful and passionate arguments put forward in Dáil debates on new Energy Bill

NEPPC welcomes FF submissions on Energy Bill June 2016 in Word Doc (1)

Energy Bill debate second stage – 28-29 June 2016 transcripts

A cross-party debate on the second stage of the new Energy Bill 2016 was held in the Dáil this week, in which Denis Naughten, TD, the new Minister for Communications, Climate Action, and Environment listened to the concerns of deputies on many topics related to future energy plans for the country.

NEPPC welcomes the very strong presentations made by Fianna Fáil deputies in the North-East, namely Shane Cassells TD, Brendan Smith TD and Thomas Byrne TD in very clearly demanding the undergrounding of the proposed North-South interconnector and highlighting the negative impact of these ‘monstrous pylons’ on the communities, landscape and heritage of counties Meath, Cavan and Monaghan.

Deputy Shane Cassells, made a very forceful and passionate plea to the new Minister, stating that:
“ At the recent oral hearing by An Bord Pleanála, EirGrid’s tabling of significant changes eight weeks into the process showed contempt for the people and landowners involved. An Bord Pleanála’s decision is not due until late September. That notwithstanding, I urge the Minister to intervene, bury the project in its current guise and bury the cables with it. People are not asking for the project to be buried, only for the cables to be buried.
Plenty of officials will welcome the technical changes to the legislation for the Single Electricity Market, but all these do for the people of County Meath is to serve to remind them of how the Government is doing everything it can to allow bodies to achieve whatever they need in order to put their plans in place. No one is standing up for the people. I appeal to the Minister as an intelligent and, importantly, brave man, as he demonstrated in the previous Dáil.
He stood up for the people of Roscommon and was very principled and brave. I am asking him to take the same stand for the people of Meath, Cavan and Monaghan. He should not believe the line that the officials are peddling to him, namely, that there cannot be intervention in this regard. There most certainly can be intervention. A directive can be issued to put the cables under ground. I appeal to the Minister one last time to work with the people and ensure that these cables buried underground. Let the project proceed on that basis. What is being said is not gospel; the Minister should not believe it. He should stand with us and ensure the cables are run underground”

Deputy Brendan Smith highlighted that at the recent Oral Hearing he had outlined the many negative aspects of the planning application in terms of the unacceptable scenario that would arise with the construction of monstrous transmission lines through large parts of counties Monaghan, Cavan and Meath. He further stated that :
“It will not be acceptable for EirGrid to try to proceed with the project if it receives planning permission which I sincerely hope it will not. The transmission lines would destroy the heritage and tourism potential of that entire countryside and be disastrous for the region.”

Deputy Thomas Byrne also made strong statements regarding EirGrid’s concession that undergrounding is now possible, if they wish to do so:

“When this project was first proposed publicly in 2007, almost nine years ago, we were told that if it were not completed by 2010, the lights could go off in County Meath. That never happened. The project did not go ahead and the lights did not go off. Therefore, I question the rationale for the project. I certainly question the necessity to have the cables above ground. It is worth examining this matter. Numerous studies have been carried out and if the Minister examines the files, he will note we have come from a position in which only overgrounding was technically possible to a position in which undergrounding is technically possible. All of those involved agree on that, even EirGrid”.

The Minister, in a short reference to the concerns stated that:
“I understand the point of view of Deputy Cassells and others. It is before An Bord Pleanála at the moment and we will get a decision later this year. I am very conscious of what people are saying to me and I am listening to them. We will all keep a very close eye on what happens in the next few months”.

NEPPC continues with its campaign to ensure that there is no unnecessary blight visited on the landscapes of the ancient East and, to this end , the contributions from Deputies Cassells, Smith and Byrne are very much appreciated. There are many new aspects to this project now to be considered, not least the future EU funding issues, arising from the new Brexit situation.

North East Pylon Pressure Campaign Limited
087- 680 36 66

Filed under: Press Releases 2016

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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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