Rabbitte faces rural revolt over pylons
COMMUNICATIONS Minister Pat Rabbitte is facing a grilling at his party's conference this weekend from angry Labour Party TDs, senators and councillors who are opposed to his controversial pylon plan.
Mr Rabbitte is to meet party colleagues tomorrow afternoon in a bid to quell mounting anger, especially among rural representatives who are adamant that any power lines must go underground.
The minister has backed the controversial €500m EirGrid high-voltage project linking Leinster and Munster.
There is a real concern within Labour that if Mr Rabbitte allows EirGrid, the State's energy-transmission agency, to proceed with the overhead pylons, then party candidates could leave and stand on an anti-pylon platform.
"If this is not sorted, people will revolt," said one TD.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, the chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Jack Wall, said: "This is a huge bone of contention. I welcome Pat is going to brief, but I believe the lines should only go over ground as the last option."
Mr Rabbitte and EirGrid have extended the consultation period on the plan until January 7.
Tanaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said it would allow all interested parties to raise issues including the routes of the lines, the environmental impact and whether they go above or below ground.