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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Pylon panel may look at North link

Fionnan Sheahan Group Political Editor

Published 01/02/2014 | 02:30

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THE Government faces a nervous wait to see if an investigation into pylons will include the North-South Interconnector.

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Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte asked for a new expert panel looking at putting the power lines underground to also examine the existing research conducted on the interconnector, running through Meath, Cavan and Monaghan.

The expert panel, chaired by former Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness, was initially only going to look at the Grid Link (Cork to Kildare via Wexford) and Grid West (Mayo to Roscommon) projects.

Mr Rabbitte met with Mrs Justice McGuinness yesterday to ask her to extend the remit to the North-South project.

But the minister did not get a definitive answer.

CAMPAIGN

The retired judge said she would discuss the issue with the expert panel "to consider what, if anything, we can do".

Mr Rabbitte said the panel will not be asked to express a preference in relation to overhead or underground options.

But the panel is already facing calls to carry out new research into the North-South project.

The campaign group, Rethink Pylons, says EirGrid's existing information should not be used as a basis for underground versus overground investigation.

The group's spokesman, Paddy Massey, said it seemed much of the information in this review will come from EirGrid.

"This is absolutely wrong. Even if we take everything EirGrid says at face value, we have to face the facts that they are a group of engineers charged with looking after our electricity grid.

"EirGrid is not the competent authority to decide on Ireland's energy future," he said.

Irish Independent

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