Government’s lack of support for independent international assessment of EirGrid’s proposals a disgrace

December 7, 2013

Media Release from North East Pylon Pressure Campaign (NEPPC)


7th December 2013


Government’s lack of support for independent international assessment of EirGrid’s proposals a disgrace


There is widespread anger nationally in relation to EirGrid’s Grid 25 plans to roll out hundreds of kilometres of extra high voltage overhead transmission lines and huge pylon towers across the country. Rural communities are understandably enraged at the tactics employed by EirGrid to force through its plans irrespective of community concerns and opposition.


NEPPC has for years challenged many of the Eirgrid claims around the feasibility, cost and health and safety aspects of underground cables versus overhead lines. There now exists with the public very little confidence or credibility in any of the statements and claims made by EirGrid. The situation is crying out for our elected representatives to take responsibility for the current mess and to ensure that a thorough and detailed independent analysis of the underground versus overhead line options is performed. This is particularly relevant for the North-south interconnector project, given that EirGrid are hell-bent on ignoring public concerns and just barging ahead with an overhead lines planning application for the second time in 6 years.


Such an analysis was called for by Fianna Fáil in the Dáil last week. Specifically, FF called  ‘for an independent international assessment of the EirGrid proposals to take place, so that the health and visual concerns held by the public are fully addressed, the cost and placing underground of the transmission cables are fully examined and a report on these matters to be published by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources’.


NEPPC warmly welcomes the proposal from Fianna Fáil, and support from all opposition candidates. This sensible and timely proposal, however, was rejected by the Government parties. Instead, the Government proposed an amendment whereby EirGrid was left in charge of all aspects: ‘that EirGrid must take account of all relevant national and international standards and follow best practice and that, in particular, grid development must: – be taken forward on the basis of the best available knowledge and informed consultation and engagement on the impacts and costs of different engineering solutions..’


NEPPC wishes to highlight its dismay at the Fine Gael and Labour Government position on this. ‘Our elected representatives in Government are speaking out of both sides of their mouth on this subject. On the one hand they agree with the public regarding the unacceptable behaviour by and lack of confidence in EirGrid, but on the other hand when it comes to actually doing something constructive they all vote in favour of letting EirGrid run the show. If they did not agree with the Opposition party proposal they should at least have proposed something more constructive than voting to do nothing’ stated Padraig O’Reilly, spokesperson for NEPPC.


‘The contribution to the debate by Dominic Hannigan, TD, was particularly woeful. Mr Hannigan welcomed the extension of the public consultation period, without realising that this is for the Grid Link project and so is of zero benefit to his constituents in the North-East. Mr Hannigan equates health risks concerns of a 400,000 volt overhead line present 24 hours a day to sitting beside a TV. He suggests that placing pylons in the heart of local communities can be excused by establishing a community fund for paying local community groups, using taxpayers’ monies. And to top it all Mr Hannigan suggests a levy imposed on pylon construction, again using taxpayers’ monies, which will be used to take the pylons down in 20-30 years when they are no longer necessary. The public deserves better representation than this on what is a very stressful issue to many people’, stated Mr O’Reilly


NEPPC calls on the Government to take control of the situation, and allow an independent analysis of the scale of infrastructure being planned by EirGrid and its insistence that it is the EirGrid way or no other way.


NEPPC is the overall representative group for the people of the North East who advocate that high power electric cables should go underground.   We have active, local committees in more than thirty towns, villages or parishes, representing more than 45,000 people potentially affected.



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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