Need for clarity on N-S Interconnector Review as Ceann Comhairle deems it is not government policy – Carthy
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has said that there is need for the Taoiseach to immediately clarify the status of the review of the proposed North-South Interconnector.
This follows the decision of the Ceann Comhairle to disallow Parliamentary Questions from Deputy Carthy on the matter, submitted to Environment Minister Eamon Ryan, because the matter is not based on government policy.
Deputy Carthy said that the disallowance of the Parliamentary Questions will create deep unease among communities who have already been sceptical of the announcement, attributed to Taoiseach Mícheál Martin at a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party.
The Sinn Féin representative had submitted questions to Minister Ryan inquiring of 1) the plans to conduct the review, 2) whether Minister Ryan would be responsible for the review and if he would consult with the Co Monaghan Anti Pylon committee and North East Pylon Pressure groups, and 3) if he would request that EirGrid cease procurement of materials for the Interconnector pending such a review.
He described as ‘deeply worrying’ that these questions were disallowed.
Deputy Carthy said:
“Fianna Fáil representatives have been making much noise of the announcement of An Taoiseach that there will be a review of the North South Interconnector. It appears that they have forgot to inform their government partners as the Ceann Comhairle has disallowed questions on this matter as they do not relate to ‘government policy’.
“This is a deeply worrying development. What is the status of the review? What will its terms of reference be? Will a panel be appointed and who will be part of it? Will there be adequate public consultation? Will EirGrid cease work on the interconnector pending the review? Is the review actually going to happen at all?
“These are all genuine questions that arise following from reports of Mícheál Martin’s announcement.
“But, it seems, that they cannot even be asked.
“I have previously cautiously welcomed the reports that the Taoiseach has committed to a review of the project. But, I said, the devil will be in the detail. At this point we cannot even get a glimpse of the detail.
“It is imperative that the Taoiseach, and those Fianna Fáil representatives that have been lauding his remarks, provide urgent clarity on this matter. This is an issue of critical public importance. It is not good enough for the leader of government to make a statement at a Fianna Fáil meeting and then fail to provide the salient detail to the communities affected by it.
“I will be monitoring this and continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that the North South Interconnector is undergrounded in line with the wishes of the communities across the five counties”.