Time for action on Interconnector from government-supporting TDs – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has said that it is time for government-supporting TDs to match their words in support of undergrounding the North-South Interconnector with action. Mr. Carthy said that while Fine Gael & Fianna Fáil TDs at a local level were saying charming things in support of campaigning communities it counted for nought while they continued to support a government that has provided EirGrid with a blank cheque.
Speaking this week Matt Carthy said:
“From day one we always knew that it would be political decisions that would determine the technology that would facilitate the North-South Interconnector. From the outset EirGrid and SONI have refused to countenance the prospects of undergrounding the project – their arrogance has led to a decade of delays in delivering the Interconnector.
“As we have seen through the publication in the Northern Standard of FOI material pertaining to correspondence between EirGrid and the department, government policy is being led, and often misled, by the company. Therefore, what is required now is not another report, another hearing or another investigation – it is a change in government policy!
“Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDs are making charming statements in support of the campaigning communities but now is the time for action. The truth is that since 2007, under both Fianna Fáil & Fine Gael leaderships, government policy has remained firmly driven by an EirGrid agenda that dismisses and ignores the views of communities across the line of the proposed interconnector. Unless and until this changes then those TDs who support government cannot speak out of both sides of their mouths. They must demand that government policy directs the undergrounding of high-voltage power lines.
“International experience and the government’s own commissioned reports have repeatedly shown that undergrounding the North-South Interconnector is a practical, feasible and affordable option. Indeed, given the unprecedented level of opposition to the current proposal, undergrounding is the only mechanism by which the interconnector can actually be delivered.
“But governments have refused to take cognisance of these realities. Therefore, big questions now have to be asked of those TDs who keep this current government in power. We’ve seen them at the public meetings, we’ve read their statements in support of communities but we haven’t seen any tangible action following from their words. They must make it clear that they will withdraw their support for government unless and until an undergrounded policy is adopted.
“Fine Gael & Fianna Fáil TDs can either support the campaign to underground the Interconnector or they can support the government – they cannot support both.”