Taoiseach’s comments on N-S Interconnector review confirm community ‘concerns’ – Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has said that the response by the Taoiseach to his question regarding his announced ‘review’ into the North South Interconnector will have confirmed the concerns within the communities affected that the government have little intention of changing course.
In an interaction with An Taoiseach, Mícheál Martin, in the Dáil last week Deputy Carthy said that the Interconnector will only be developed on the basis that it is undergrounded. He referred to remarks by the Minister responsible, Eamon Ryan, at an Oireachtas committee, that the review will simply be a technical, paper exercise; and asked an Taoiseach if he would deliver on Fianna Fáil’s pre-election promise to carry out a comprehensive feasibility assessment of undergrounding the interconnector.
Speaking after the exchange Deputy Carthy challenged local Fianna Fáil representatives to make a stand. “Fianna Fáil TDs, Senators and Councillors were kick to take credit for the Taoiseach’s announcement of a review into the project” he said.
“But, increasingly that review is being exposed as a sham. They need to be equally forceful in demanding that their own pre-election commitments are delivered. The communities affected deserve no less, and will not settle for less.”
Deputy Matt Carthy: “Can the Taoiseach inform us whether the Cabinet committee that deals with infrastructure has discussed the issue of the North-South interconnector?
“The decision by EirGrid to underground the Kildare and Meath high voltage power lines means that the North-South interconnector is the only project in EirGrid’s GRID25 plans that it intends to pursue using overhead, pylon supported power lines.
“The Taoiseach knows, because I am sure his representatives have told him, that there is huge community anger and frustration with the lack of engagement from and the arrogance of EirGrid. We are told that the Taoiseach committed to a Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting that there would be a review into that decision, something that I cautiously welcomed.
“Yet, the Minister responsible has indicated that this review will just be a review of previous reviews and that it is full steam ahead as far as this project is concerned.
“Will the Taoiseach commit to adhering to his pre-election commitment to carry out a full feasibility analysis to underground this project, in recognition that it is only through the undergrounding of the North-South interconnector that the project will be delivered at all?
Taoiseach Micheál Martin: “In regard to the North-South interconnector, the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications has spoken about the review that is under way.
“The Deputies’ know the position of EirGrid. It believes it cannot be undergrounded. I have pointed to areas around the country where certain initiatives have been undergrounded.
“The context is the all-island single energy market and so on. There is a review”.