The Aontú Bill which seeks to fully cost the over and under grounding of the North South Interconnector and thus prove the case for undergrounding passed the 1st stage of the Dáil. Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín who tabled the Bill on the floor of the Dail today stated;
“The Government seek to construct 409 pylons, up to 51 metres high, caring 400,000 volts through Meath, Cavan and Monaghan, Armagh and Tyrone. There will be a minimum distance of 13 metres to homes allowed.
Opposition to the 140km interconnector has raged since 2008. There are significant fears with regards threats to health. There are fears with regards damage to value of homes, farms and business. The tourism, agriculture, the blood stock industries are all extremely alarmed”.
“The truth is that technology that the government seek to build is becoming out of date. It has been superseded by new underground technology that can do the same job. Indeed new underground lines with similar distances are being built between Germany and Belgium within budget. The government is building the Kildare Underground Line. The CEO of Eirgrid Mark Foley stated that that 50km is the Max for and Underground AC line. 4 years ago at the oral hearing Eirgrid said that an AC underground cable could not be done over the 10km. This is not to mention developments in DC technology”.
“The campaigns run by NEPP, the Monaghan Campaign and SEAT have been incredibly well run. But they have been cursed by politicians put their arms around them for photos while in opposition but go underground when in government. FF promised a watery review in the last few weeks. but it amounts to nothing more than a desktop look at existing information plus the input from Eirgrid. Green Party leader Eamon Ryan says he believes the controversial North-South electricity interconnector must go ahead as planned despite the Taoiseach ordering it be reviewed”.
“What is left. We are up against time, the clock is ticking. There is a Judicial Review in the north. However serious questions have to be asked as to what efforts are SF making in the north to stop this. There seems to be a dual approach within SF on this. They are opposed to it in the south but there is no evidence that they are using their full energy to stop this in the north”.
“This is my second 2nd Bill seeking to underground the line. The purpose of the Bill is to establish a review group to examine the route of the North-South Interconnector, to define the review group’s terms of reference and to require it to submit a report to the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications. It provides for the necessary secretarial and administrative support, technical and professional advice and assistance towards research to the Review Group”.
“This Bill seeks to facilitate analysis of both undergrounding and overgrounding the North South Interconnector in terms of technical performance, economic impact, environmental preference, socioeconomic impact and deliverability.
The Bill will facilitate analysis of the cost of the North South Interconnector in terms of damage to house prices, property prices and damage to local business, enterprise and Agri-businesses. This has not been done before”.
“This is legislation. It is not a motion as has gone before. This Bill differs from previous PMBs in that the terms of reference cannot be manipulated politically. This is key. We are calling for the government and the opposition to make time for the undergrounding of this Bill before its too late”.