Fine Gael reinforce their commitment to seeking reimbursement for NEPP oral hearing costs

February 22, 2011

NEPP endorses strong national and local party support by FG to campaign over last 3 years

NEPP held a public meeting on Monday evening 21st February in the Headfort Arms hotel in Kells in which elected representatives from all political parties presented their final policy position in relation to the NEPP campaign objectives.

A large audience of over 350 people, including candidates from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin attended the meeting. The meeting focused specifically on what is the position of the main political parties in relation to the NEPP recommendations that all extra high voltage overhead lines and pylons be placed underground, for the betterment of people’s health, environment and the landscape of the north-east.

NEPP outlined to the audience that it has spent the last 3 years building a proven case for the merits of undergrounding, and has educated and lobbied all of the political parties in this regard. This has involved numerous meetings and briefings, participation in the relevant Joint Oireachtas Committee hearings and submission of detailed technical findings to the recent oral hearing concerning EirGrid’s planning application.

Speakers on the night included Thomas Byrne TD,FF; Damien English TD,FG; Tommy Grimes, Labour; Peadar Toibín, SF and Independents John McGurk, Daithí Stephens and Stephen Ball. All speakers, on behalf of their parties emphasised their strong support for the core NEPP campaign objectives of undergrounding the Meath-Tyrone interconnector.

Thomas Byrne, Fianna Fáil outlined that party policy now supports undergrounding, and that their election manifesto calls for the establishment of an all-party electricity infrastructure committee to examine the feasibility of undergrounding. Peadar Toibín, Sinn Feín, outlined in detail their party’s full support and actions to date for the NEPP objective of undergrounding high voltage lines, both in the Republic and in Northern Ireland. Labour councillor Tommy Grimes outlined the party’s overall commitment to supporting NEPP. Independent candidate John McGurk emphasised the necessity for a coordinated strategy across strategic infrastructure projects, highlighting that the Meath-Tyrone interconnector could easily have been placed underground alongside the M1 and /or M3 motorways.

Damien English gave a detailed contribution to the meeting, outlining Fine Gael’s plans regarding electricity infrastructure if elected to Government:

  1. FG will request, in the interests of transparency, specific route details from EirGrid in relation to its plans to roll out ‘Grid 25’
  2. FG will direct EirGrid to halt any further activities on the Meath-Tyrone interconnector until an independent analysis, by the appropriate experts, on undergrounding has been performed.
  3. FG will deliver on its original commitment to instruct EirGrid to reimburse NEPP for relevant costs associated with participation in the oral hearing process in 2010.
  4. FG will examine concerns raised by NEPP in relation to the proposed merger of ESB Networks and EirGrid in their ‘New Era’ strategy document.
  5. FG will support the concept of projects such as the undergrounding of the Meath-Tyrone interconnector development being placed out to global tender , such that Public Private Partnership concepts could be considered

The NEPP committee acknowledged the genuine and consistent support it has received from Fine Gael over the past three years for its campaign at local level from elected representatives Damien English TD and Shane McEntee TD and at national level from Simon Coveney TD and more recently Leo Varadkar TD. This support has included facilitating NEPP participation at Joint Oireachtas committee hearings, meetings with EirGrid and support to the NEPP oral hearing submissions.

We welcome the restating by Fine Gael of their support to progressing our undergrounding campaign, especially their commitment to ensure EirGrid reimburse NEPP for oral hearing costs incurred prior to EirGrid’s planning application withdrawal” stated Aimée Treacy, NEPP chairperson “We will continue to work closely with Fine Gael to ensure these commitments reach a successful conclusion”.

Filed under: News & Events,Planning Hearing 2010


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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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