Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has demanded that Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten TD clarify his position on undergrounding the North South Interconnector project.
Matt Carthy said:
“Despite the passing of a Dáil motion calling for the undergrounding of the North South Interconnector project, reports indicate that it is not the intention of Denis Naughtben TD, the Minister responsible, to see the motions implemented.
“This is entirely unacceptable and the Minister needs immediately to clarify his position. Already we have had governments comprising of Fianna Fáil, the Green party, Fine Gael, Labour and Independents ignoring the democratic decisions of local authorities in the counties affected. Is this government now intent on ignoring the decision of the Dáil? What say local Fine Gael TDs and Ministers to this?
“I recently wrote to Denis Naughten asking him to outline a timeframe for implementation of the Motion and to direct EirGrid to proceed with the undergrounding option as the only means by which the project will be completed.
“The North South Interconnector is a project of significant benefit for the whole island and its energy market. However, Minister Naughten needs to acknowledged it will never go ahead unless it is undergrounded.
“The cost estimates for the undergrounding the project have diminished greatly since this debate began. In fact, when consideration is given to the whole lifespan of the project and the delays we have already witnessed and are likely to continue to see it is probable that undergrounding is the most cost-efficient option.
“The Minister needs to understand how fiercely opposed local landowners and communities are to the project as it currently stands and their resolve to resist it. They are fully supported in this by my party.
“It’s time Minister Naughten came clean. He needs now to make a statement clarifying his position and outlining a timeframe for the undergrounding of this project.”