Sinn Féin TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Pauline Tully, has said that the review of the north-south interconnector announced by the Taoiseach is nothing more than a whitewash to allow elected representatives from the government parties tell people they are doing something on the matter.
Teachta Tully said:
“Minister Ryan’s response to my colleague, Darren O’Rourke TD, at the Transport Committee last week confirms that this review is nothing more than a whitewash, a smokescreen for elected representatives from the government parties to hide behind and tell the constituents that they did everything they could.
“He confirmed that this will be a short review and he wants it complete by early summer, in a similar timeframe as the judicial proceedings currently being finalised in the North.
“This, he says, will allow the Government to make final decisions on the project and allow Eirgrid to proceed.
“This to me sounds like someone who has already made up their mind.
“That he knows what the review will say.
“A short desktop review of the existing reviews is simply not acceptable.
“It will not be looking at any new alternatives.
“Neither will it be looking at Eirgrid’s approach to the Kildare-Meath electricity line which it is undergrounding.
“Eirgrid completely reversed what it had been saying all along in regard to the Kildare-Meath line.
“First of all, they argued, similar to the north-south interconnector, that the best option was for overhead pylons due to the cost of undergrounding.
“Now they have turned this on its head and say that undergrounding this project is the best performing option.
“Well if it is the best performing option for the Kildare-Meath line, how come it is not the best performing option for the north-south interconnector.
“There are a lot of questions, like this, that need to be answered and a short desktop review of the existing reviews is simply not acceptable.
“If the review is not given the proper time and scope it will be a complete waste of time.
“Worse still, it will be a lost opportunity to get this right.
“All stakeholders need to be involved in any new review – the local community, the Department and Eirgrid – and a mediator appointed if needs be.
“There needs to be an international, independent review panel chosen by all the stakeholders, independent of Eirgrid and the Department.
“The panel needs to be given an appropriate timeframe and allowed the broad scope necessary to conduct a proper review.
“If this does not happen then this review is nothing more than a whitewash and smokescreen to hide the blushes of government representatives.
“If this is the short desktop review that Minister Ryan has indicated then I cannot see this extremely important infrastructural project being delivered.
“The Minister and this government still seriously underestimate the level of opposition to the over-grounding of the north-south interconnector.
“Sinn Féin have always fully acknowledges the need for the north-south interconnector and we want to see it progressed. However, we have consistently said that the interconnector should be put underground. The technology is there, it’s entirely feasible, and a proper review would reflect this in its findings.”