Refusal by EirGrid to take responsibility for its mistakes

November 5, 2010

NEPP to determine what specific actions elected representatives will take to support the campaign

NEPP have been formally informed by EirGrid that it is refusing to compensate NEPP for the significant costs incurred in participating in the recent  Oral Hearing into its planning application for the Meath – Tyrone Interconnection Development, which EirGrid halted abruptly by withdrawing its application. In a letter to NEPP it stated that “EirGrid must always consider its functions and duties in the course of its decision making and having done so does not believe it has any reasonable basis for agreeing to pay NEPPC’s costs…EirGrid believes that it took the correct action in minimising the costs incurred by all concerned by withdrawing when it became aware of the error. In these circumstances your request for payment of costs must therefore be refused”

In a debate on the “Frontline” TV programme this week, an EirGrid spokesperson stated that the loss of money was ‘unfortunate’ but that EirGrid would be pressing ahead with a new planning application in the new year.

Aimee Treacy, Chairperson of NEPP said: ‘This is an outrageous response from EirGrid.   The people of the North-East raised significant funds to examine acceptable alternatives, especially undergrounding the cables. They have never resorted to any activities other than those of dialogue and persuasion, based on well researched evidence. They have participated fully with the Oral Hearing process and have at all times behaved in a respectful and professional manner.

In response to this, they have been met by a semi-state company who have shown total disregard for their duties and responsibilities to the very public that they are charged with serving. It is unacceptable that  EirGrid, who through the taxpayer had access to unlimited resources and consultant expertise, could be allowed to submit such a shoddy application, then withdraw it whenever it suited, and then walk away with no apparent accountability or penalties. This is an injustice to the people of the North-East. EirGrid may or may not have a statutory obligation to reimburse the public participants and voluntary groups for their reasonable costs, but they certainly have a moral obligation to do so”

In a separate but related development NEPP have been informed that their request to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources for EirGrid to be brought in front of the committee and held to account for the significant waste of taxpayers money as a result of its shoddy planning application, has been refused. In a letter to NEPP the Clerk of the Joint Committee stated that ”The Joint Committee considered your letter…..The Committee have decided that they will not a hold a meeting on this topic at this time….and it is unlikely that will seek further briefing in the immediate future” .

A spokesperson for NEPP stated: “This is a further slap in the face to the people of the North-East. Where is the sense of accountability, responsibility and justice in the democratic process. The Joint Oireachtas Committee has a duty of care to the public to properly represent their issues and to in particular scrutinise and challenge the waste of public resources by a semi-state organization. The ‘washing our hands of this issue’ response is simply not good enough”.

To this end NEPP is inviting an appropriate elected representative  from each political party to a public meeting on Monday 29th November in Headfort Arms ,Kells, to outline what actions, if any, their party intends to take in relation to EirGrid’s activities and plans.” The purpose of the meeting is to determine if the people of the North-East are being properly represented on this issue, and if not, what actions are needed going forward”, stated a spokesperson for NEPP.

NEPP are currently organizing ‘The Great North East Christmas Cycling Challenge’ on December 28th, as a show of unity for their continuing campaign and as a fundraising support to challenging EirGrid’s next application. “This event will once again highlight to EirGrid that there is tremendous solidarity and support for the NEPP position of undergrounding transmission lines. We also plan that it will be a great day for families and local communities”, stated Aimée Treacy, chairperson for NEPP.

The North East Pylon Pressure (NEPP) campaign group believe that new giant pylons and high voltage overhead lines are inappropriate in the North East.   Numerous advanced and more practical options exist. Since our campaign began, NEPP has amassed a vast amount of international and national data and research in support of our case for undergrounding.

The NEPP campaign was formed in October 2007 and represents more than 45,000 people in counties Monaghan, Meath and Cavan who favour underground cables as an alternative to pylons and overhead lines.

-       Ends –

Further information:

Michael Keane, Insight Consultants

01 2939976 or 086 8244500

Filed under: Press Releases 2010-2012

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