Government could fall over pylon project, warns chief whip
GOVERNMENT Chief Whip Regina Doherty has said the Government could crumble if she and the two other Fine Gael ministers from Meath quit office over plans by semi-state agency EirGrid to build overhead pylons in her constituency.
Ms Doherty said she has no intention of "embarrassing" her Cabinet colleagues but insisted she was vehemently opposed to the proposed development of the North-South Interconnector, which would see 300 pylons erected across three counties.
The Fine Gael Cabinet member's comments came as campaigners against the project planned to force the Government to vote on the issue, claiming that for the first time a majority of Dail TDs supported running cables underground.
The group, North East Pylon Pressure (NEPP), believes if plans to run overhead lines through Co Meath, Co Cavan and Co Monaghan were put to the floor of Leinster House, most TDs would favour laying the cables underground.
Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien English and Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Helen McEntee are both from Meath constituencies that would be affected by the project.
Asked on her local radio station, LMFM, whether there would be an election if she and her Meath colleagues pulled their support for the Government over the pylon project, Ms Doherty said: "It probably would.
"First of all, I don't want an election. I'll fight an election tomorrow and if the people of Meath want to keep me they'll keep me and if they don't I'll go off and sing on the West End or something."
She said it was "not good enough" how the people of Meath were treated by EirGrid during the development of the project. Early last week, Ms Doherty said she "fully supports" constituents who engage in civil disobedience to block the project.