N-S Interconnector “Review” falls far short of what is needed and what was promised – Matt Carthy TD
The latest government commissioned review of the North South Interconnector falls far short of what is needed and of what was promised. So, said Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy this week as the review group is expected to commence its work.
Deputy Carthy said that the requirement for a full independent feasibility assessment of an underground option for the interconnector is required. Fianna Fáil, he said, had committed to such a study prior to the last General Election. Instead, government have commission ‘a review of previous reviews’ which, Carthy said, inspires little confidence in the communities affected by the proposed interconnector.
Deputy Carthy said:
“It has been clear for several years that the only way that the North South Interconnector can proceed with the public acceptance of affected communities is if it is developed underground. Such an approach is feasible and credible, according to previous government commissioned studies.
“In advance of the 2020 General Election Fianna Fáil promised an independent review into North South Interconnector. In spring Micheál Martin told his party’s parliamentary party that such a review would be commissioned, to much fanfare from local representatives.
“But, the terms of reference of the proposed review does not constitute a meaningful consideration of the underground option – it effectively limits the group to reviewing a select number of previous reviews.
“This falls far short of what is needed and what was promised prior to the last election.
“It took nearly a year from that election for the review to be announced and it has been another half year before the review even begins. The review itself is expected to be completed within 8 weeks.
“All the while, EirGrid are pressing ahead with this project at full speed – it would certainly seem that they have no sense that the review will deliver anything other than a reaffirmation of the status quo.
“Such a rubber-stamp exercise will not address the concerns of local communities or those of us who want to see the interconnector proceed with maximum public acceptance. It is clear, a decade and a half on from the original proposition, that the only way that acceptance can be delivered is by developing the project using underground technology.
“I have tabled an oral question to the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, who is before the Dáil this coming Thursday and I plan to put it to him that he must take this opportunity to expand the terms of reference of this review, and provide the expert panel with the widest possible remit in order to deliver the interconnector in an efficient, cost-effective manner that will have the support of affected communities.”