Wake-up meeting a wake-up call to Government parties

November 11, 2013

Media Release from North East Pylon Pressure Campaign (NEPPC)
11 November 2013

Fine Gael’s support for EirGrid’s pylons planning application unacceptable to the public

There was an attendance of over 1,000 concerned citizens at Knightsbrook hotel for the monster wake-up meeting.
NEPPC presented a strong case for the undergrounding of the North-South interconnector, highlighting that it is a feasible, affordable and acceptable option. The case for undergrounding has gathered significant momentum nationally, as EirGrid rolls out its Grid 25 plans across the country.
It was, therefore, of great interest to hear the position of each of the political parties regarding their support for an undergrounding policy.
NEPPC invited all local politicians to the meeting, and asked an appointed spokesperson for each party answer three specific questions, namely:
1. Does your party support the NEPPC strategy for undergrounding the North-South 400kV power line project proposed by EirGrid?
2. If yes, what is your party doing to ensure that undergrounding becomes EirGrid policy for this project?
3. If no, what are the party reasons for rejecting the undergrounding

Matt Carthy, representing Sinn Feín, spoke passionately of the need for the Government to instruct EirGrid to adopt a policy for undergrounding. He stated that Eirgrid personnel had stated in public that if EirGrid was directed by Minister Rabbitte,TD, to put the lines underground that they would do so. Councillor Carthy reiterated Sinn Feín’s consistent and steadfast support for an undergrounding policy.
Senator Thomas Byrne outlined the Fianna Fáil position. Fianna Fáil is very unhappy with the overhead lines proposal by Eirgrid and with EirGrid’s handling of the whole project. FF is calling for a review of the planning regulations in relation to electricity infrastructure, in particular the proximity of lines to houses. Senator Byrne stated that FF will adopt as a matter of policy its support for the undergrounding, and use all influence possible to achieve this goal.
The Labour party refused to be represented, and did not even send a written response to the 3 questions forwarded to them almost a month ago.
Damien English of Fine Gael outlined his party’s position, which is basically to support the position of Minister Rabbitte and EirGrid of proceeding with an overhead lines planning application to An Bord Pleanála.
NEPPC welcomes the clear and unequivocal support from the Sinn Feín party from the outset, and the restating of this support at the meeting.
NEPPC also welcomes the support for undergrounding from the Fianna Fáil party, and its plans to use all influence possible to push for an undergrounding solution.
NEPPC, however, is very disappointed with the FG position. “The recommendation by FG of letting the application proceed to An Bord Pleanála is an acceptance of the overhead lines and pylons approach, as Eirgrid has refused to examine undergrounding. It is an acceptance of EirGrid’s misleading cost figures. It is a cynical exercise of the party washing its hands of any responsibility to make a progressive policy decision. It is taking the political decision of standing behind the Labour party rather than standing behind their local communities. It is a case of the tail wagging the dog, and local communities are very disappointed with this approach” stated Padraig O’Reilly of NEPPC. “ A similar statement has been made by Paudie Coffey, FG at an anti-pylons rally in Waterford” stated Padraig.
Finally, NEPPC welcomed the strong words of support from IFA presidential candidate Eddie Downey, from ICMSA representative Lorcan Mc Cabe and from MEP Marian Harkin and from Senator Ronan Mullen

Ends –

Filed under: Press Releases 2013

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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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