Carthy brands Minister’s refusal position on Interconnector as ‘untenable’
Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has branded as untenable the refusal of Green Party Minister, Eamon Ryan, to consider options for the delivery of the North South Interconnector through any other means than by the imposition of pylon-supported overhead powerlines.
He said that the Ministers refusal to implement the previous Dáil resolution for a full examination for undergrounding the project, coupled with his refusal to meet with the County Monaghan Anti-Pylon Committee and the North East Pylon Pressure groups, meant that his partners in government, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, had a responsibility to assert their own position.
Deputy Carthy was speaking after he had submitted a Parliamentary Question to Minister Ryan enquiring as to his intentions to commission an independent report incorporating international expertise to examine the technical feasibility and cost of undergrounding the north south interconnector in line with the resolution of the Dáil on 16th February 2017. In his response, Minister Ryan stated bluntly “I do not intend ordering a further such review.”
The Cavan Monaghan TD said that this position presented a challenge and responsibility to Minister Ryan’s partners in government, especially Fianna Fáil.
Deputy Carthy said:
“Fianna Fáil, while pretending to be in opposition in the last administration, put forward a Dáil resolution. The current Minister now says that he has no intention of implementing it. In recent weeks we have heard plenty of rhetoric from local Fianna Fáil TDs and Councillors, but there is no sense that the party intends to stand up for these communities. Either they support the campaign to underground or they don’t. If they do, then they must insist that EirGrid cease their ongoing activities and that the examination they previously sought is put in place.
“For our part, we in Sinn Féin will continue to support campaigning communities. Recently, our party president, Mary Lou McDonald, and vice-president, Michelle O’Neill, met with the North East Pylon Pressure group to reaffirm our position in this regard and to confirm that our representatives, north and south, will do everything in our power to ensure that this project is completed using underground technology”.
Question to the Minister
* To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he will commission an independent report incorporating international industry expertise to examine the technical feasibility and cost of undergrounding the north south interconnector in line with the resolution of Dáil Éireann of 16 February 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Matt Carthy.
* WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 15th December, 2020 from Minister Eamon Ryan.
The Government believes this important new cross-Border infrastructure will significantly facilitate the integration of renewable energy into the power system in line with the Programme for Government. It will improve the efficient operation of the all-island Single Electricity Market, increase the security of electricity supply in Ireland and Northern Ireland, bring economic benefits to the region and support the achievement of our climate objectives on the island of Ireland.
The option of undergrounding the North-South Interconnector has been comprehensively assessed on several occasions. Most recently and fully in line with the resolution of Dáil Éireann of 16 February 2017, my department commissioned an independent report incorporating international industry expertise to examine the technical feasibility and cost of undergrounding the north-south interconnector. The report from the International Expert Commission was published in October 2018 and it found that an overhead line remains the most appropriate option for this piece of critical electricity infrastructure. I do not intend ordering a further such review.